As little kids, we almost universally like poetry. Think about it. What were some of your favorite stories? I’m willing to bet some of them were narrative poems. Kids love the rhyme and rhythm in these stories.

Then, we get to school and something terrible happens. Poetry becomes this really confusing stuff that doesn’t make any sense, but we’re supposed to figure out what it means…for a grade. Sadly, school often kills poetry, and by the time kids get to high school, they hate it.

Maybe that’s you, and now it’s April, National Poetry month – woo hoo – right?

This year in my Creative Writing class, we’ve done a quick write to a poem every class period. At the beginning of the year, at least half of my students whined about the poems that I read. Now, they’ve learned that there’s some pretty amazing poems and poets out there, and I have to give them copies of all the poems.

In honor of National Poetry month, I thought I’d share some links to a few poems and poets that I’ve found teen writers have enjoyed. They’ve also written amazing pieces in response to some of these poems. You can read them for pure pleasure or get out your writer’s notebook and write a response to a line, an image, or a memory the poem evokes, whatever it makes you think about.

Most of all, have fun. I hope you enjoy them.

Billy Collins: “Introduction to Poetry,”  “On Turning Ten,” “Today,” “The Lanyard”

Mary Oliver: “Hummingbirds,” “The Journey,”  “The Fish,”

Gary Soto: “Saturday at the Canal,“Oranges”

Stanley Kunitz: “The Portrait”

Some fun poems: “Puzzled,”Another Plot Cliche,”  “America”

Fairy Tale Fun: “The Witch has told you a Story,” In Search of Cinderella,” “...And Then the Prince Knelt down and tried to put the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot”

In the comments below, I’d love to hear which poem you enjoyed the most.

Happy National Poetry Month!

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