A Pocket Full of Poetry

Emily Dickinson coverHello! Did you know that April is Poetry Month? As a homeschooler and poetry lover, I’m excited to observe it. If a whole month is too much of a commitment for you, you can concentrate your celebration on the 18th which is Poem in Your Pocket Day. As it is, I’ve introduced Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet from girlhood to my daughter. I voraciously read Dickinson in my early teens, thanks to her “I Am Nobody? Who Are You?”, which really resonated with me back then. Here’s a candid confession… High brow literature elitists wouldn’t approve, but I discovered Dickinson via those ubiquitous (back in the ’80s and ’90s anyway) Sweet Dreams teen romance novels. I vividly remember those two influential  books. I still know their titles and their plot. I could probably even detail some of the scenes. Here’s some more candid confession – I’m also trying to locate copies. As expected, my own copies were borrowed by loathsome creatures who didn’t have a nodding acquaintance with the word “return”. So, if you find copies of “The Right Combination” by Jahnna Beecham and “Love Lines” by Frances Hurley Grimes, please send them over this way; I promise to reimburse you. In any case, I haven’t exactly outgrown Dickinson, but my horizons have broadened some. These days, I tend to prefer reading Isabella Gardner; I love her use of language and the imagery she paints with her words.

Hope page
Going back to Poetry Month, I’m saving “I Am Nobody…” for later and starting Marguerite on “Hope (is the thing with feathers)”. Also, instead of regular stories, we’re reading children’s poems at bedtime. Marguerite really enjoys the Dr. Seuss ones. She’s a big one for silliness, that girl. Incidentally, lots of famous bedtime prayers rhyme, so if you want your kids to memorize something, going with a prayer will be much like hitting two birds with one stone. I personally love this one and have taught it to Marguerite –

Father, We Thank Thee

Father, we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.

Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good;
In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.

Rebecca Weston – 1890

There are so many ways to celebrate Poetry Month. If you’re a homeschooler who wishes to instill the love of poetry in your kids, a parent whose child won’t be celebrating Poetry Month at his or her school, or somebody who simply enjoys poetry, the following are some suggestions on how you can make the most of this month:

  • If you have a business, offer discounts or a freebie to those carrying poems in their pockets on the 18th.
  • Post short verses on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Handwrite verses on Post-its and stick them all over the house. Or the neighborhood.
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite verses.
  • Post a poem on your blog.
  • Text a poem to friends (but not while driving).
  • Revisit your favorite poet from childhood with your kids.
  • Include a poem in your kid’s lunch bag.
  • Organize a poetry reading.
  • Assign poems for copywork.
  • Using chalk, write poems on sidewalks.
  • Watch a movie that involves poetry. Take care to make sure that all content is suitable for kids. Even “Dead Poets Society” is PG. Perhaps “A Child’s Garden of Poetry” if you can find a copy?
  • Write poems for your kids, with your kids… just write. You can even take a single sheet of paper and pass it around (if you have more than one child) or back and forth, putting in a word or two during your turn. Once the paper is filled, you’ll have something akin to Dadaist poetry.

For sure there are more ideas out there. You can check out these Pinterest pages for other possible activities. Happy Poetry Month!

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