Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrating Children's Poetry - Dreaming with Stacie


Happy National Poetry Month, Toads! I'm happy to share poetry - both written and spoken aloud - and excited to see what inspiring verses April brings us. Thank you for allowing me to continue to be a part of this rich community of poets, thinkers & dreamers.

Today I'd like to shine a light on children's poetry, because along with music, it is what first sparked a fire in me to read, write, and eventually pursue a lifelong career in the arts. How did it do this? By encouraging me to play, to wonder, to discover, to dream and to express myself. I was a small child, an only child - and when I began school, arguably a quiet and sometimes lonely child. Poems helped me understand a world that was complex and, at times, seemingly un-navigable. They also helped me understand myself, and spurred me to begin writing my own poems.

I know I'm not the only child to feel this way about poetry. Far from it! Indeed, there are many examples of children who have used the power of language (& music, & art, & dance) to become more confident young people. But further than instilling confidence, poetry keeps at its heart an experience of humanity like no other. Through the rhythms & words children hear and speak aloud they experience life at a sensual level. I always thought of poetry as a rainbow of not just colours but feelings, places and people. Today, as I read poems I still also feel and experience them, hear and imagine their images in my mind, taste their words on my tongue & feel their rhythms in my chest.

As a writer, I'm often drawn back to thinking of how poetry makes me feel when I'm contemplating the blank page. We all get stuck sometimes, but it is the magic and wonder of poetry that has the power to spur our writing on. Listen to this beautiful spoken-word performance by young Asha @TedXKids -- "Pick up the Pencil."


Do you ever think of your favorite poems or poets from childhood? Did they inspire you to begin writing or do they inspire you to keep writing today? I am going to guess that the answer for many is yes! As a mother, I now love sharing classic poems with my children from Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear - as well as poems from contemporary poets. The poetry book that became my favorite in middle school, and certainly inspired me to write - is Hey World, Here I Am! by Jean Little.


In April of 2016, to celebrate National Poetry Month, I published a short collection of poems I wrote as a child - Canvas of Imagination: Poems. Because I love sharing poetry aloud, I recorded a playlist of some of them on Soundcloud. My hope is that they inspire other young people to read, write and share poetry. I've also recorded some of my favorite children's poems from Shel Silverstein & Roald Dahl, and will certainly be adding more in the future. If you'd like to listen, go to: https://soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich/sets

Children's poetry remains my favorite literary genre to read and perform. As much as I love the tactile experience of holding and reading a book, the chance to act it aloud is thrilling! There are some wonderful collections available that encourage you to listen to & perform children's poems aloud. One of my favorites is by children's poet laureate Julia Donaldson - aptly titled Poems to Perform.


Here is a fun poetry performance video from CBBC kids. It just makes me smile! :-) 



For today's poetry writing prompt, I'm challenging you to write - or speak - or act! - or sing! - a poem that harkens you back to your childhood imagination. It may be of any theme or form you choose, but it must be as creative as possible. (And no, it doesn't have to rhyme!) I hope it will be magical or whimsical, quirky or funny, colourful or even nonsensical! Create the kind a poem a child would love to read, hear or act out. And most important, have fun & love what you are creating. :-)

Thank you for reading, participating & visiting Imaginary Garden with Real Toads today. It's been my pleasure & privilege to add my voice to this community. Have a fabulous National Poetry Month! -Stacie

18 comments:

Jim said...

Thank you, Stacie. You have a big job, laden with responsibility, in creating works that will inspire our future adults to have an appreciation of and willingness and love to continue what we have been blessed with.
My experience is that children enjoy the poetry that rhymes much more than we like to write it.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I didn't realise I had to did the Linky too.
I will get onto that pronto.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Stacie, it is true that my imagination was captured by poetry at a very young age, largely due to children's poetry books. I commend your publication and will add your book to our bookshelf tab on the Home page.

At present, my theme for April does not lend itself to children's style of poetry, though I may use the notion in a poem today, but I would like to include a link here to the poetry blog which I edit for my high school students. I challenged them to write 15 poems in 30 days, as they have two weeks vacation time. I am updating the blog as they send me their work.

http://ladysmithhighpoetry.blogspot.co.za/

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I was brought up on poetry – good poetry that would be hard to match, but I did my best. As a former children's librarian, I know that good writing for children is writing that adults can enjoy too, so I hope it meets that criterion as well. But anyway, I had great fun writing it!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Kerry, I enjoyed a quick look at your students' blog, and will go back to see more later.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks, Rosemary. I appreciate you taking the time. I believe poetry writing is an essential part of a teenager's life.. rather get the angst out on paper than stored up inside.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Well I'm no good at children's poetry but I tried something funny..❤️ hope it works.. will be back to read and comment after work. Happy Thursday everyone❤️

paulscribbles said...

Thank You Stacie. Oh my...this was sooooo much fun.....and actually also made me cry a little....therapeutic time travel poetry sessions. So weird once you enter the 'child' mind...now the catchpa question prove you are not a robot has taken on a whole new dimension.

erbiage said...

hey stacie, thanks for the prompt. more difficult than it should be, for me, perhaps. About my favorite toy.

Stacie Eirich said...

Thank you to all who have commented & particlpated so far! I will respond to each one soon. I'm late in getting my own link posted & now must get the children off to school! I do hope you all enjoy the journey into childhood. Have a lovely day! Stacie

Marian said...

Stacie, I love this prompt so much! Thank you! I actually write lots of childish poems :) and am very glad to be moved in that direction today. Am looking forward to listening to your Soundcloud, too.

Friends, I am soooo far behind in trying to read all of your wonderful offerings!! This is so challenging! I can't even believe I have written six poems, and am so grateful for this month to get my butt back in gear. Will be around to read all of you, probably on the weekend. Carry on, write like the wind!! xoxox M.

De said...

I love this, Stacie. Thank you for the fun inspiration today. Back soon to read through everybody's poems, and to fully digest all of the gems you've offered.

Lorraine said...

Such a wonderfully playful and imaginative prompt. I made mine a short kinda visual statement on my childhood fun.
Thanks for hosting!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Ahh.. just home from work❤️ now going to visit others.. gosh can you guys believe it's day 6!

Susie Clevenger said...

I know my poem is dark, but my path of expression started with childhood abuse.

Stacie Eirich said...

Hello again Toads! Happy Friday! I've visited many of your sites and it's been so fun to read your poems. Those that I haven't responded to yet - I promise I will. It was such a pleasure to share about children's poetry, and I'm so happy to see your inspirations. Thank you for participating in the prompt and have a wonderful, poetry-filled weekend. :-)
Stacie

telltaletherapy said...

Did not think I was up for this Stacie but memories stirred eventually

Frank Hubeny said...

I enjoyed Asha Christensen's spoken-word performance. Although late I linked something I posted on Poet's Corner for this prompt.