Celebrate spring by reading poetry
I have lived here a very long time and contrary to current belief, spring will come. With spring comes April, and April is Poetry Month. Even though I can’t write them, I do love to read them, especially out loud, as the rhythms and rhymes seem so much better then.
Douglas Florian brings us “Poem Depot — Aisles of Smiles,” a collection of poems in the style of Shel Silverstein or Jack Perlutsky. It is divided into chapters which are called “Aisles” and begins with a “Welcome.” Since I “Hate to Wait,” that one expressed my feelings exactly. The narrator forgot why he was in line it was so long a wait. I must also agree with his favorite color, “Chocolate.” These are not very long, and there are quite a few limericks making them easy for kids to “learn” and share.
“A Funeral In The Bathroom” by Kalli Dakos is another fun collection of poems beginning with a teacher tribute. Her teacher “who doesn’t miss a trick,” hangs poems on the bathroom walls. I would have to think about that. Most of the poems deal with the “bathroom” but all are acceptable to kids. If you get locked in the bathroom, it is suggested that you make yourself as “flat as a piece of paper” and slide out under the door. Some riddles as well as reminders to “flush” keep the interest up.
The wonderful but zany Paul B. Janeczko brings us “Firefly July — A Year Of Very Short Poems.” This is an anthology of poems selected by Janeczko, not his original poems. Aptly, we begin with spring and Cid Corman’s “Daybreak Reminds Us.” Of course, we follow with summer, fall and winter. These are poems by “adult” poets and are not “funny” for kids, but the language and the beauty inspired should be shared with everyone.
“Miss Emily” by Burleigh Muten, a very different look at poetry, is a novel based on the life of the poet Emily Dickenson. Dickerson wrote nearly 1,800 poems but only 10 were published during her lifetime. This tells the story of MacGregor and Sally Jenkins, neighbors of Dickerson, and her niece and nephew, Ned and Mattie Dickerson when the circus came to town. Dickerson collects the children with a note that they are to meet her in the garden pretending to be slugs. We watch as they crawl to meet her. She wants to take them to meet the circus train during the night. What magic! We follow enviously as they adopt “personas” and costumes and go to greet them at “Greatest Show on Earth!” There is an accident and Mac’s ankle is hurt. They must get help and Mac’s parents are not happy that they are out in the middle of the night. Miss Emily takes the blame and eventually all is forgiven. The kids get to go to the circus but Miss Emily returns to her reclusive ways so the kids put on a circus for her in the garden. This is a lovely look at one of our foremost poets.