Messages from the World

Words on Wednesday: Poetry

April is National Poetry Month.  

As a reader and lover of poetry, I always celebrate this month -- and I take it as a personal challenge:  To share poetry I love; to remind people that poetry is wonderful; and to encourage others to just . . . give it a try!  Because if you hated it in school . . . well . . . I'm betting it was the way it was taught. 

In third grade, my teacher's name was Mrs. Clinton.  Besides being an excellent teacher, she was also an artist -- and a lover of poetry.  When she taught poetry, it was from the heart!  And, best of all, she taught us that poetry could be fun.  She shared silly poems with us every day -- and we loved them!  By beginning with the silly, she took the dust-and-fuss off the rest of "Poetry," so when she threw the more serious stuff at us later, we were receptive and unintimidated.  I'm going to bet that many of my classmates also grew up with, at the very least, a fondness for poetry.

Anyway, I think of Mrs. Clinton whenever I pull this book off my shelf.

IMG_4931 2

Here's a poem from the book.  (I think Mrs. Clinton would have approved.)  (But not for third graders.)

"What do women want?"

I want a red dress.
I want it fliimsy and cheap.
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath.  I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears abut me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want.  When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio


On Wednesday throughout April, I'll be sharing some of the poems I love.  Thursday, April 27 is Poem in My Pocket day.  Maybe you'll join me -- and share YOUR favorite poem that day.





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Thanks for the reminder about a poem in your pocket Day. When I was teaching, I always did some fun pocket poems with my preschoolers. I am going to revive that practice this year and fill my pockets with poems to can hand to teachers and parents.


Love that poem you shared! And thanks for the reminder about April and poetry month and a poem in your pocket! On my calendar. Unfortunately, I never had a teacher who was a poetry lover but my mom certainly shared her appreciation with us...just picked up an anthology of Maya Angelou's poetry from library yesterday.
Enjoy today and everyday.


I'm afraid I had Mrs. Clinton's evil twin in school, and she ground out all the fun in poetry. It's only been lately that I've come to enjoy poetry, and this one made me smile and think - a sign of a good poem for me! I'm going to be looking for this book and looking forward to more poems from you this month.


Fabulous poem! Thanks for sharing. None of my teachers were wonderful o the poetry front, but fortunately both of my parents enjoyed poetry and growing up our house was filled with poetry books (some of which I now have and some my son has). We had, for a number of years, dinners for friends and family that would turn into sort of soirees with people reading poems - many times written by them. Fletch and I need to do this again.


OMG this poem is THE BEST!

I have only come to enjoy poetry in the past few years, and still kind of flounder around. But better late than never. :-)


Thanks for putting words in front of me today that have me thinking and smiling a bit. There's been very little poetry in my life but you always send something my way that makes me think...hmmm maybe I need more! xo


Fabulous poem! I think I need that red dress! NOW! lol

And, my favorite poem is Trees by Joyce Kilmer - I can close my eyes and still hear my Grandpa reciting it to me, helping me memorize it.


Wonderful poem! My Dad loved poetry and would often recite or read us poems; he had a talent for memorizing poems. One of our favorites was a silly poem called "Midnight on the Ocean", I remember how we would beg him to repeat it over & over again.


Oh, I love that!! Wow. Thank you... I'm looking forward to more.


That is a great poem! And you're so right about the impact of how poetry is taught in relation to how we all feel about poetry.


I don't even remember reading poetry until college. How fortunate to have a wonderful teacher like Mrs. Clinton. That poem made me laugh out loud! It's simple fabulous.

Julia in KW

:). Great poem! I read poetry constantly when I was younger, but not so much lately...time to remedy that!


I was hoping you would be sharing poems this month (and thank you for the reminder about April 27). I was also late coming to love poetry - it wasn't until Katie studied it in high school, with a wonderful teacher, that she convinced me to try it again. Today's selection would be a perfect "first poem" ... but yeah, not for a third grader :-)

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