Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Wish-List

One day, sometime in my early teens, my mother mother handed me a book. I looked at it, rather puzzled. The Premier Book Major Poets, it said, An Anthology, Edited by Anita Dore.

"I know you love poetry," Mom said, "So I got you this."

The Tale of Custard the DragonI loved poetry? I couldn't remember loving poetry. In fact, I couldn't remember really thinking about poetry at all. But, hey, this was my mother, and she knew everything about me (this was in my very early teens), so I shrugged, accepted the book, and went off to read it. After all - I loved poetry.

I have never figured out if Mom was being exceptionally clueless or exceptionally brilliant when she said that. Whichever it was, that statement had a huge impact on my life. I still have that book, and have browsed through it many times, after the initial cover to cover reading. Some of my favorite poems are in there: The Portrait, by Robert Graves; The Preponderance, by William Meredith. It led me to explore poetry further -  Carl Sandburg became a  favorite, as did Robert Frost. Not to mention it had Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. I still remember the shock I felt when I realized that a song could be considered a poem!

Rhinoceros Tap: 15 Seriously Silly Songs (Book & CD)Since I like poetry so much, I have decided my children must learn to enjoy it, too. ('Cause, y'know, I'm all about the brainwashing.) So, in my typical sneaky style, I have taken to reading poetry to them as part of their bedtime stories. I slip it in oh, so nonchalantly - a poem read after a story, or a book that is in rhyme. My oldest was given a book a few years ago, Rhinoceros Tap by Sandra Boynton, which is poetry / songs (it came with a CD that we listen to in the car - I love The Crabby Song and Tickletime). We read that sometimes. I also have plans to introduce them to Lewis Carroll's poetry and Ogden Nash's The Tale of Custard the Dragon.

I'm looking for new books, though. I remember loving Shel Silverstein when I was a kid (so much so, that I didn't realize it was poetry) but I'm not sure what else is out there. Suggestions! I need suggestions! Do you have any favorite children's poetry collections? Any poets you can recommend? What can I buy my children to hook them on poetry?

Oh, and, Mom? Thanks for the book. You were right. I do love poetry.

Books/Authors: Robert Graves
                        William Meredith
                        Emily Dickinson
                        Carl Sandburg
                        Robert Frost
                        Simon & Garfunkel
                        Sandra Boynton
                        Lewis Carroll
                        Ogden Nash
                        Shel Silverstein


Cari Hislop said...

My first conscious introduction to poetry was Where The Sidewalk Ends at about nine. It's irreverent and silly (with great illustrations), but it's engaging and I suspect has a good dose of underlying messages sneaked in under the carpet.

My next foray into poetry was quite a jump. At twelve someone we knew was clearing out his college books and included was Oscar Wilde's 'The Balad of the Reading Gaol'. I don't think I remotely understood it, but maybe it was the cadence that affected me. It made an impression in any case. Another book the man gave me was a musty tomb for a college poetry class and that introduced me to Robert Burns.

Some of the ones you mentioned I've never heard of...I'll have to look them up! :)

Cannwin said...

ah the poem, how I dearly love it. I could write a poem about poems :)

When I was a child our handwriting exersices were to write Shel Silverstein poems. I still feel an ache in my fingers when I think of the poem about the dirtiest man in the world.

When it comes to major poets and poems (major as in.... with literary and historical weight) my first and still favorite is "The Highwayman"

Love it!

I also love, love, love Joyce Kimer's 'Tree's'

And Banjo Patterson's 'The Man From Snowy River' (did you know that was a poem? It's excellent btw)

I should stop now before I get out of control.

Or should I keep going?

Shakespeare's Sonnet #116

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Annabel Lee by Egdar Allen Poe

Okay, okay I'll stop now. :P

Jennifer said...

I learned huge amounts about Banjo Patterson when I was in Australia. Love his poems - they're wonderful.

Cari Hislop said...

I only discovered The Highwayman last year. The last time I was down in London I needed to kill time before catching my train home so I popped into The British Library and they had this small exhibit on childhood literature over the years. One of the books was The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and Charles Keeping (the latter being the illustrator) it's still in print. I bought myself a cheap paperback copy off Amazon. The illustrations are very powerful. It's graphic; you know the poem, but if you don't have MUST get a copy! Just for you!!!

And speaking of literature and music...after buying the book I purchased an early CD by Loreena McKennitt (The Book of Secrets) and found she'd put the poem to music. If you've never heard her she's Celtic with eastern influences. If I had to pick a favorite CD it would be a tie between The Visit where she puts The Lady of Shallot to music (its LOVELY!) and An Ancient Muse which is completely divine.

Cannwin said...

I have heard her! She's good.

But what I really want to know is... did you never see Anne of Green Gables or Anne of Avonlea?! Really? She recites The Highwayman.


Cannwin said...

Cari, Just looked....umm, yeah that's pretty dark isn't it. I like the image in my head much better.

My kids picked up this version ( of the spider and the fly at the library. It was actually kind of disturbing... they like the poem and it makes for great openers about stranger danger but the pictures in the version were a little to vivid. :)

Cari Hislop said...

I love Anne of Green Gables...missed that one! :)

Yes the version of The Highwayman I mentioned is dark, but think, it was a child's book at the turn of the century!

I love it; especially that picture of him laying on the ground dead. (Did I mention I was morbid?) But the picture of him coming to meet his girl with the trees against the moon is gorgeous. I'd hang it on my wall.


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