"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry"

A Book

THERE is no frigate like a book  
  to take us lands away,  
nor any coursers like a page  
  of prancing poetry.  
this traverse may the poorest take          
  without oppress of toll;  
how frugal is the chariot  
  that bears a human soul!

Emily Dickinson. 1830–1886

We are approaching April!  Poetry is a year round resource in my library, but April does allow for some real fun with poems and poetry.  In the past, we have created Book Spine Poems.  The students have produced Guykus and Galkus, inspired by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds book Guyku. We've carried poems in our pockets. We've performed poetry.  We've written poetry.  This year, I am hoping to shake up my own units and projects and try some new things.  I often read this Emily Dickinson poem with my fourth graders, letting them work together to tease out its meaning.  This year, I hope to let them create their own response to this poem - another poem, a letter, an illustration or an image.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Here are some of the poetry resources I have used in the past or will be using this year.

A wonderful archive of children's poetry organized by category, from animals and school to family and holidays.

Hear and read poems on this engaging site.

April 24th is Poem in your Pocket Day. What poem will be in your pocket?

Follow step-by-step directions for writing poetry with three familiar poets.

Interactive Sites for Education: Poetry
Information about and games to play with poetry.

PBS Parents: Haiku
Create Haiku online.

Visit this database of author and illustrator interviews and information to hear Sharon Creech, Chris Raschka, and Mary Ann Hoberman.

GottaBook will be posting a previously unpublished children's poem for each day in April.  Check them out!

The Poets Laureate
Meet our Children's Poet Laureate!

Read a few poems from our former Children's Poet Laureate.

Read a few poems from another former Children's Poet Laureate.

All About Langston
Hear Langston Hughes read his poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers.

Audio podcast on Langston Hughes poetry with Langston reading his poems. Elizabeth Alexander, inaugural poet explains Langston's work.

TeachingBooks.net has recently begun recording audio clips with illustrators of children's books. They ask the illustrators to choose a page and speak about their thought processes and media choices when illustrating the text on that page.

Read about Langston on Poets.org.

Read about Langston on the Poetry Foundation site.

All About Emily
Read about Emily on the Poetry Foundation site.

Video of this poem.

Animated video of this poem.

All About Naomi

Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, illustrations by Dan Yaccarino

Video of author reciting this poem about her son.

Other Sites
Created by Robert Pinsky.  Students select a favorite poem, read it and explain why it is a favorite poem and why it has meaning to them.


  1. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful resources!

  2. Great resources- thanks! One tiny correction- the date of Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 18 this year.

  3. Hi Jennifer - I'm new to twitter and trying to figure things out. I found this post and must have tweeted or done something b/c it got picked up here http://paper.li/WeLoveToRead/1309499372?edition_id=f09c9e90-9047-11e2-81d0-0025907210e8

    on March 18 - though I am just discovering it now. Anyway, it was a mini mystery as I was trying to figure out why they were telling me! You may know this or not care, but in case you didn't, I think it's kinda cool for u and now I have to chekc out the whole newspaper thing ;)