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Poetry Sites

Author Koren Stembridge
Air Date 4/3/2000

Poetry Sites Transcript

Koren Stembridge is on the Internet for us today, with some sites to begin National Poetry Moth.

I discovered that April was National Poetry Month while helping a high school student locate the text of a particular poem on the Internet. The search for this poem awakened some long-sleeping part of me.

Though my father is a poet–my mother too, although she doesn’t think she is–and even though words always danced in my house when I was growing up, at some point I stopped reading poems. As a child, I was easily caught up, as I think most children are, physically, in the rhythms of poems, swimming fluidly through their language like a little otter. But with adolescence, the moment I was asked to disassemble a poem into its parts, I knew I could no longer ever feel confident that I was reading a poem correctly, and my swimming days were over–until just recently.

This is a pretty familiar story, and is probably why most of the adult patrons who frequent my library do not read poetry for pleasure. Instead they search for poems only when mourning the loss of a parent, or to celebrate their child’s birth or marriage. At these important moments, the distant melody of a poem read in a high school or college literature class calls to us, a tune better than any we could write ourselves.

But we all have poems in our hearts and in our heads and these poems need voices. Nowhere will you see more evidence of this than on the Internet where poetry sites of all kinds are flourishing.

Here children may pour over Shel Silverstein’s poems, or visit poet Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry 4 Kids site, where they will find, for example, Nesbitt’s hilarious poem about “Homework Harold,” the boy who willingly does his required homework TWICE!

Adolescents have eagerly claimed a vital presence on the Net, and there are literally hundreds of places to post poems and to read the work of other teens, to get feedback, or to simply make a statement–a loud lament, or a quiet moment, like a poem called “Jackson’s Song” by a seventeen-year-old who writes:
A quiet boy
Sitting on the couch, tuning the guitar
In a small town, in a nice house
On a cold windy day
There is nothing else to do

Both adolescents and adults will also find it interesting to browse at the Academy of American Poets webpage, or to visit Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem site and read beloved poems submitted by people from all across the nation.

During National Poetry Month, it’s time to wake up to poetry again–dare to eat that peach or take your child for a journey down the road less traveled. Read some poetry–it will make all the difference.


Posted in Holidays, Poetry