"Prickled Pickles Don't Smile," Nikki Giovanni
"W. D., Don't Fear that Animal," W. D. Snodgrass
"A Jelly-Fish," Marianne Moore
"The Porcupine," Ogden Nash
"Annabel Lee," Edgar Allan Poe
"The Falling Star," Sara Teasdale
"Sick," Shel Silverstein
"Casey at the Bat," Ernest Lawrence Thayer
"With Kitty, Age Seven, At the Beach," William Stafford
"Hope is the Thing with Feathers," Emily Dickinson
. . . . and sixty other notable works.
Chosen by the American Poetry & Literacy Project and the Academy of American Poets, two of the nation's most respected nonprofit poetry organizations, these much-loved and highly readable poems promise young readers and poetry lovers of all ages hours of reading pleasure.
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How to eat a Poem
A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers
By Andrew Carroll, Charles Flowers, Douglas Korb
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
The First Book
Go ahead, it won't bite.
Well ... maybe a little.
More a nip, like. A tingle.
It's pleasurable, really.
You see, it keeps on opening.
You may fall in.
Sure, it's hard to get started;
remember learning to use
knife and fork? Dig in:
You'll never reach bottom.
It's not like it's the end of the world—
just the world as you think
you know it.
There Is No Frigate Like a Book
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Inuit (Eskimo) passage, translated by Edward Field
In the very earliest time,
When both people and animals lived on earth,
A person could become an animal if he wanted to
And an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
And sometimes animals
And there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
Might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
And what people wanted to happen could happen
All you had to do was say it.
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
It is only a little twig
With a green bud at the end;
But if you plant it,
And water it,
And set it where the sun will be above it,
It will grow into a tall bush
With many flowers,
And leaves which thrust hither and thither
From its roots will come freshness,
And beneath it the grass-blades
Will bend and recover themselves,
And clash one upon another
In the blowing wind.
But if you take my twig
And throw it into a closet
With mousetraps and blunted tools,
It will shrivel and waste
And, some day,
When you open the door,
You will think it an old twisted nail,
And sweep it into the dust bin
With other rubbish.
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit
As old medallions to the thumb
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
A poem should be equal to:
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea
A poem should not mean
How to Eat a Poem
Don't be polite.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
For there is no core
to throw away.
Prickled Pickles Don't Smile
a prickled pickle
'cause prickled pickles
a loaded toad
when he has to walk
A whole mile
Froggies go courting
with weather reporting
There are no snows
But always remember
the month of December
is very hard
On your nose
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
This Is Just to Say
William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Excerpted from How to eat a Poem by Andrew Carroll, Charles Flowers, Douglas Korb. Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsMAGIC WORDS POEMS ABOUT POETRY, BOOKS, WORDS, AND IMAGINATION
The First Book, Rita Dove
There Is No Frigate Like a Book, Emily Dickinson
from "Magic Words," Inuit (Eskimo) passage
Introduction to Poetry, Billy Collins
The Poem, Amy Lowell
Ars Poetica, Archibald MacLeish
How to Eat a Poem, Eve Merriam
Six Words, Lloyd Schwartz
Prickled Pickles Don't Smile, Nikki Giovanni
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, Wallace Stevens
This Is Just to Say, William Carlos Williams
Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams, Kenneth Koch
Today is Very Boring, Jack Prelutsky
The Unwritten, W. S. Merwin
Write, Do Write, Marilyn Chin
MY HEART LEAPS UP POEMS ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF THE NATURAL WORLD
My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold, William Wordsworth
W. D., Don't Fear That Animal, W. D. Snodgrass
Swift Things Are Beautiful, Elizabeth Coatsworth
Summer, Kawabata Bosha
Autumn, Arakida Moritake
Winter, Takarai Kikaku
Spring, Matsuo Basho
Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
The Desert Is My Mother, Pat Mora
El desierto es mi madre, Pat Mora
maggie and milly and molly and may, E. E. Cummings
A Jelly-Fish, Marianne Moore
The Eagle, Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Eagle Poem, Joy Harjo
Considering the Snail, Thom Gunn
The Porcupine, Ogden Nash
The Crocodile, Lewis Carroll
The Tyger, William Blake
Steam Shovel, Charles Malan
Cartoon Physics, part 1, Nick Flynn
The Falling Star, Sara Teasdale
Halley's Comet, Stanley Kunitz
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer, Walt Whitman
I THINK OVER AGAIN MY SMALL ADVENTURES POEMS ABOUT TRAVEL, ADVENTURE, SPORTS, AND PLAY
Sick, Shel Silverstein
Travel, Edna St. Vincent Millay
Insomnia, Marilyn Nelson
Harlem Night Song, Langston Hughes
The Rider, Naomi Shihab Nye
The Jogger on Riverside Drive, 5:00 A.M., Agha Shahid Ali
First Love, Carl Lindner
Skier, Robert Francis
Skater, Ted Kooser
The Acrobat, Wislawa Szymborska
Baseball, Linda Pastan
Casey at the Bat, Ernest Lawrence Thayer
One Art, Elizabeth Bishop
I Think Over Again My Small Adventures, Anonymous
Bed In Summer, Robert Lewis Stevenson
from The Bed Book, Sylvia Plath
Summons, Robert Francis
HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS POEMS ABOUT LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, SADNESS, HOPE, AND OTHER EMOTIONS
Shirley Said, Dennis Doyle
Oranges, Gary Soto
The Floor and the Ceiling, William Jay Smith
Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
Sympathy, Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley
Spring and Fall, Gerard Manley Hopkins
Trees, Walter Dean Myers
With Kit, Age Seven, At the Beach, William Stafford
At the End of the Weekend, Ted Kooser
Little Old Letter, Langston Hughes
from "I Am a Black Woman," Mari Evans
homage to my hips, Lucille Clifton
Childhood MorningHomebush, James McAuley
Hope Is the Thing with Feathers, Emily Dickinson
Quintrain, Said 'Aql
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PERMISSIONS
ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF POETS, TITLES AND FIRST LINES