Poetry is one of the first types of literature we are exposed to as children. We hear it in songs, in rhyming pictures books, and even in the non-rhyming picture books whose cadence and structure are similar to poetry. One of The Boy’s favorite things to do is pick words (some nonsense ones) and rhyme them. He enjoys doing this activity for what can be an annoyingly long length of time!
One of the first ways young people express themselves both verbally and in written form is through poetry. I think this is because it has an interesting blend of structure and room for creativity and riffing. You can rhyme, but you don’t have to. You can create a haiku (very short and structured) or you can do a free verse poem (pretty much no “rules”). It’s almost instinctual for kids to play with poetry.
Back when I was in college, I applied for an award and one of the questions we had to answer was if you could create a class to be included in the English curriculum, what would it be. In one of my classes from the previous semester, each student had the opportunity to bring in one piece of writing that spoke to us, and almost every single person in the class (a small one of less than 20 students) brought in song lyrics. So I thought it would be cool to have a class called “Song Lyrics as Poetry.” One of my professors who was on the awards committee loved the idea so much, she taught songs lyrics as poems in one of her literature classes.
As an adult, I find myself dabbling in poetry for fun. I included a couple of ballad-style ones in Elixir Bound, I’ve written poems for my kids, and I ink the occasional poem for kids’ magazines. When I used to keep the magnetic poetry (check out this link for some examples) up on my refrigerator, people (of all ages) couldn’t help themselves and would come up with all sorts of poetry fun.
Poetry is a universal language we can all explore and play around with, even if we don’t consider ourselves poets!
#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Katie L. Carroll, Mary Waibel, and Kai Strand. We pick a topic (April is all about poetry), drop a ripple in the inkwell (i.e. write about it on our blogs), and see where the conversation goes. Be sure to check out Kai’s and Mary’s posts this month. We’d love to have you join in the conversation on your own blogs. Full details and each month’s topic can be found on my #InkRipples page.