National Poetry Month at Homeschool Kid Lit

Posted on April 1, 2007. Filed under: Children's Literature, Homeschooling, Poetry |

Fitting that our month devoted to poetry begins with a day for fools. I say that in all love–I think it takes being something of a fool to be something as a poet.

Fools take risks. They do tricks. They get away with all manner of outrageous words and deeds. They don’t ask for the attention of the court, by the very nature of what they’re doing, they get it. They exist outside the boundaries that limit everybody else. True, they do so at the king’s whim, but that too is part of being the fool. Knowing that at any moment your life as you know it could be over.

But I digress. Having outed myself as a poet just before National Poetry Month (NPM) and having complained that kids don’t get enough “real poems”–I’ve decided to do my part. Each week I’m going to post on a 20th-century poet whose work includes at least a few relatively accessible pieces that I think parents and children can enjoy together. I’ll post the poems for examination as Poetry Friday pieces, though for the purposes of NPM, any given day counts as a Poetry Friday here at Homeschool Kid Lit.

As for the poets we’ll take up together, I’m going to start with Wallace Stevens. Mainly because I’d never heard of him until college and I wish I hadn’t had to wait that long. Here’s the link to the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Stevens

While the Wikipedia entry’s accurate, it’s going to make him sound a lot scarier than he is. If too much information makes your head hurt, then remember just this much: he was a lawyer, then an insurance mogul–very much a man of the world, nothing like the wispy big-eyed poet stereotype; he’s considered a Modernist–he believed it was important to find the meaning of a thing or an event, though he didn’t believe that religion, the traditional route to meaning and understanding, necessarily held the answers. In terms of his willingness to take on the role of fool? He was positively Shakespearean.

The pieces I’m going to post and offer up for discussion are, I think without exception, from his first book Harmonium, published in 1923.

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One Response to “National Poetry Month at Homeschool Kid Lit”

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Oooh! Sounds like fun. I hope to play along with Sam. I just looked for books by him at the library. Didn’t find the one you mention there but I did find one with his poems, “Wallace Stephens, poetry for young people.” Since we’re hitting the library tomorrow, I think I’ll check it out. 🙂 Thanks!


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