. . . and April came quickly. April is National Poetry Month. In the past, I’ve always had a poetry contest and celebrated poetry month to it’s fullest in the library. This next week in the Reading classes we’ll be looking over our databases for researching and the bookmark contest will begin. (The bookmark contest is a popular IMMS tradition.) Then STAAR 2 will be upon us. . .
All that aside, poetry does deserve to be recognized and celebrated. Poetry is a highly personalized thing. I’m calling poetry a “thing” because I don’t think there is a single, “correct” definition of what poetry is. It’s something different to different people. We can all agree that it’s beautiful writing, but how it looks on a page or how it’s read is interpretation. For instance, to me, Shakespeare has written some of the most beautiful poetry in his plays.
I love the “What’s in a name?” lines where Juliette says:
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
In a more modern-day style, I’m drawn to almost anything by Langston Hughes, though I think his Dreams poems are my favorites.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
I also enjoy the funny stuff, like Edward Lear’s limericks or Shel Silverstein’s kid stuff. These are fun to read and discuss with kiddos. —Limericks can be pretty bawdy, but here’s some of Lear’s tame ones:
There was an Old Man with a Beard
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.
Cats of Kilkenny
There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
Till (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren't any.
Poetry cannot be defined or even discussed in a short blog. Poetry is everywhere. I see it in the mind-catching beginning of a good story, an expertly written advertisement and occasionally in a really good blog or tweet. . .