Poetry-power

The Personal Power of Poetry

Posted by on April 16, 2013.

One of my favorite things to do is write and read poetry, so I’m excited that April is National Poetry Month!

My suggestion to all you literary scholars/parents out there is to start introducing your kids to poetry early. Poetry can serve as a sense of release, not just a source of entertainment. With poetry you can let your emotions find their way onto the page, filling up the lines with feelings you wouldn’t be able to express another way. I think, from personal experience as a high school student, that kids find a way to express themselves early in order to get away from some of the more harmful options some young people resort to nowadays.

In my life I have seen four people thrive on writing and reading poetry. One of those people is my sister. After our dog Aunt Bea died, my entire family was in a sort of funk. We all dealt with it in our own ways: my Dad didn’t talk about it much, my Mom made a four page dedication to her in our family scrapbook, I listened to music, and my sister wrote poetry. My sister was young at the time, so her knowledge about poetry was quite limited, but that didn’t stop her from writing. Her class started a poetry unit, and all of her poems were about Aunt Bea and the connection she had with her. My sister eventually sent her poetry to a small book publisher, which sent her a copy of her own little book of poems and illustrations.

My sister was able to release all her pent up anger and sadness through poetry instead of carrying it around with her.

Another person who, in my opinion, is an amazing poet, is my friend Ellie. Ellie took a creative writing course in my school, which opened doors for her that nobody could have foreseen. Ellie has an amazing talent for writing poetry, especially slam poems, her rhythm and rhyming create a piece of art that resonates with you and makes you think. We recently had a school assembly where four Creative Writing students shared their slam poems, and Ellie’s got the most applause by far — and for good reason. She expressed her feelings about our current society and world leaders, describing that pain and agony will not lead to peace. Her poetry is powerful and leaves an imprint in people, which is something a real poet does.

My mother loves poetry with a passion. She carries around various notepads in her purse, jotting down little snippets of original poems about things like the homeless man on the street corner and the way my face crinkles when I listen to bad music. She has always had a love for poetry; so much so that, if I had been born a boy, I would have been named Whitman, after the great poet Walt Whitman. She says that poetry speaks to her in a way normal writing can’t, and that she loves the feeling of finding a poem that translates her thoughts into something beautiful.

I am the final person on my list of poetry enthusiasts. I have an entire shelf of poetry books on my bookcase, ranging from Shel Silverstein to Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. I went through a  phase of nonstop poetry reading when I was younger. I have composition books full of my own poems; the topics range from my vast collection of stuffed animals to my thoughts on 9/11. I was completely obsessed with really seeing what people felt and saw in their everyday lives.

At the time I thought I was the next Edgar Allen Poe, writing deep, dark poetry about bones found in the woods and dark water pooling at the edge of a creek. Even though I didn’t become a dark literary genius, poetry helped me develop my passion for writing and reading, and made me who I am today. Poetry also opened me up to the world of music, something that I have an intense love for. Music is poetry written into song that truly conveys an artist’s emotions.

Poetry opens up so many doors for so many people. We shouldn’t keep that amazing experience from our kids! A couple of suggestions I have for younger children are Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers and Polka-Bats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown. These poems are short and hilarious. The poems discuss odd characters, like Ed, the man that smells of cherry marmalade, and Olf, the carrot-eating pirate. They will make you and your child giggle and help your child develop a love for poetry (it did for me!).

For older children, I suggest introducing them to more advanced and mature poetry, like Langston Hughes, Frost, and Whitman. These men created some of the most influential poetry of all time; it resonates with millions of people around the globe and hopefully will leave a lasting impression on your kids, inspiring them to write and read poetry themselves.

I’ll leave you now with one of my favorite Robert Frost poems. I hope that poetry leaves a mark on your children, like it did with me. And who knows? You might have a rhyming prodigy on your hands.

 

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

 

Does your child want to write poetry? The Young Writers Project is a great source to enter your child’s work and possibly have it published in one of 21 Vermont newspapers! I personally belong to this project, and it has really boosted my confidence in my own writing!

 

Buy Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks today.

Buy Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers today. 

Buy Walt Whitman’s Complete Poems today. 

Buy Robert Frost’s collected poems today. (This collection is a bit pricey but totally worth it.)

Buy Langston Hughes’ collected poems today 

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