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For this week’s National Poetry Month Poet-themed staff pick of the week, we are highlighting 3 prominent and very different poets.  One is the widely acclaimed Shel Silverstein, the immortal bard William Shakespeare, and the popular children’s poet Jack Prelutsky.

Silverstein is well known for his children’s poetry collections A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.  You can check out these and some of his other works here.

We’re pretty sure that everyone has read at least one piece of Shakespeare’s work, or at least seen one of the many, many movies based on his work.  The Bard really needs no introduction, so we’ll just connect you to our catalog.

You may or may not know Jack Prelutsky, who writes wonderful children’s poetry like Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast.  He’s quite prolific and we have quite a few of his works in the library.

We hope you enjoy these poets of the week!  We’ll leave you with this:

Where the Sidewalk Ends

from the book “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1974)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go
to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

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It’s National Poetry Month, and who better to be the poet of the week then one of the most popular poets in America.  Billy Collins has said about his poetry that it is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.” Accessible, delightful, and celebrating and mourning the highs and lows of everyday life, we encourage you to give one of his poetry anthologies a try.

Check out what’s available in our catalog.

Here’s a favorite poem, for a sample of his work:

Marginalia

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
‘Nonsense.’ ‘Please! ‘ ‘HA! ! ‘ -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote ‘Don’t be a ninny’
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls ‘Metaphor’ next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of ‘Irony’
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
‘Absolutely,’ they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
‘Yes.’ ‘Bull’s-eye.’ ‘My man! ‘
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written ‘Man vs. Nature’
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
‘Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.’

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It’s National Poetry Month!  It’s time to enjoy your favorite poets or find some new ones like Rumi, Billy Collins, e.e. cummings, an anthology of poets, or one of the many other famous and not-so-famous poets we have in the collection.  Don’t like poetry?  Not a problem.  Try a novel in verse, you might be surprised at how much you like it.  Some of the novels in verse in our collection are:

  • The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (secret identities, faked murder, and enough drama for at least three Shakespeare plays)
  • Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (modern true stories behind fairy tales)
  • Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski (a topsy-turvy modern Romeo and Juliet tale)
  • After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy (two high school seniors getting through their last semester)
  • The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones (a novel of middle age, motherhood, marriage and mayhem)

… the list goes on.  Try something new this month and tell us if you like it.  You can find more on the “Something Different” bookmarks at Circulation too.  You can find Novels in Verse and Poetry books in the catalog.

There are tons of events, support and ideas for National Poetry Month as well.  Check out some of these from ReadingRockets, ReadWriteThink & Scholastic.  The National Poetry Month official website has a lot of great resources as well including a poem a day, Dear Poet project, poem in your pocket day, and more!

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Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, most commonly referred to as Rumi, was a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, and Sufi Mystic, among other things.  His poetry covers a wide range of topics, and are amazingly relatable and full of advice centuries later.  These two collections showcase this magnificent poet’s work.  One particular favorite is “Quietness” which can be found in The Essential Rumi.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Rumi is this week’s staff picked poet.

“From the premier interpreter of Rumi comes the first definitive one-volume collection of the enduringly popular spiritual poetry by the extraordinary thirteenth-century Sufi mystic.”–Taken from Goodreads.com


The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition

Coleman Barks

Published: Jun 15, 1995 by Harperone
Find in the Library



The Soul Of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems

Coleman Barks

Published: Sep 05, 2002 by Harperone
Find in the Library


The Soul of Rumi is renowned poet Coleman Barks’ first major assemblage of newly translated Rumi poems since his bestselling The Essential Rumi.

“Coleman Barks presents entirely new translations of Rumi’s poems, published for the first time in The Soul of Rumi. The poems range over the breadth of Rumi’s themes: silence, emptiness, play, God, peace, grief, sexuality, music, to name just a few. But the focus is on the ecstatic experience of human and divine love and their inseparability, conveyed with Rumi’s signature passion, daring, and insights into the human heart and the heart’s longings.”– Taken from Goodreads.com

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It’s the end of National Poetry Month.  What did you read?  Did you keep up with the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day website?  Or did you check out Poetry 180 run by Billy Collins while he was the Poet Laureate? Or maybe you found a new poet or read some of your favorites.  Did you try a novel in verse?

Or if you are in grades 3-12 did you share your poems with other poets at Poet-to-Poet?  You can still email your poems to poet2poet@poets.org with your name and which poem/poet inspired you  today!  Some will be posted on the website in May!

Let us know what you did!

If someone checked out the novel in verse we recommended before, try again, they’re all well worth the read!

-The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (secret identities, faked murder, and enough drama for at least three Shakespeare plays)

-Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (modern true stories behind fairy tales)

-Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski (a topsy-turvy modern Romeo and Juliet tale)

-After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy (two high school seniors getting through their last semester)

-The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones (a novel of middle age, motherhood, marriage and mayhem)

… the list goes on.  Try something new this month and tell us if you like it.

 

Find Novels in Verse and Poetry books in the Catalog.

 

Don’t forget, we have a great selection of poetry year round.  Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog via WordPress.

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