Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

A Garden of Verses


As children we begin our acquaintance with poetry through nursery rhymes and catchy little verse books and move up to reading by way of Dr. Seuss. If the love of poetry takes hold. Then we discover there is a world of rhyme through the pens of such poets as Jack Prelutsky (shown happily proffering his poetry pencil). And of course, Shel Silverstein.

Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Carroll come to mind for when we are older. And then what? We are told “good” poetry shouldn’t rhyme and rhyming verse is childish. We then go deep into the likes of Robert Frost, Longfellow, and perhaps Langston Hughes when we get into school. This is not a bad thing. Not at all. Life gets more complicated as we get older and poetry can be that reflection.

I wonder if this is where we lose the initial love of poetry, when we have to work at understanding it through its symbolism, imagery, and meter. Cats and fiddles, Jacks and Jills no longer suffice as poetry thrills. Tis a shame.
My freshmen groan and revolt when I trot out the poetry unit. I wish I could say I have swayed their opinions or created new converts at the end of the designated nine weeks, yet that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Most do appreciate poetry a bit more. Sure, that works for me–I’ll take it.

I wonder how many of us would continue loving poetry if we could only be allowed more Jack Prelutsky when we are all grown up.


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8 thoughts on “A Garden of Verses

  1. Pingback: Stuck « picturemypoetry

  2. i do think poetry is a hard unit for any teacher to cajole students into loving. one of my critique partners is a fantastic poet whose actually written a novel in verse and she does amazing things with kids and poetry by making them part of it. she has them write poetry starting with the prompt, “I come from…” and then has each child explore the things in their life that are important. She shows them that it doesn’t have to rhyme, but it can if you want.

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