National Poetry Day is an excellent way of reminding us of the beauty and power of poetry. But once the excitement and promotion is over, how do you keep the interest in poetry alive?
For those who enjoy dipping into poetry there are a number of books that quote poetry, involve characters who use poetry as a way of expressing their feelings or are written in verse. I particularly enjoy those books that refer to poetry – I often find myself inspired by what I have read and wanting to learn more about the poem or the poet. These book are an excellent way of extending the interest in poetry created by an event like National Poetry Day, as well as opening reader eyes to the depth and appeal of poetry.
The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton – this book introduced me to the poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost. It is a beautiful poem, filled with meaning and sadness and my interest in the meaning of this poem led me to other poems by Robert Frost – including the well-known ‘The Road Not Taken’.
The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan – written in verse, this book is about Kasienka and how she copes with the bullying handed out to her at her senior school. The language is straightforward and the tone engaging and readers find themselves reading the verse with ease. A lovely example of how simple it can be to read and enjoy poetry. Also check out the highly awarded book ‘One’ by Sarah Crossan.
Matched series by Allie Condie – this trilogy is set in a future dystopian world where access to poetry is limited to 100 approved poems. The character in the book accesses some of the banned poems are readers are introduced to ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas and ‘Crossing the Bar’ by Tennyson. The importance and beauty and power of words is emphasised by the way in which this future society controls what its subjects can read.
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – a group of emotionally troubled teens at a boarding school are asked to study The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The reader is inevitably drawn to, and fascinated by, Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar. Whilst The Bell Jar is a novel, Sylvia Plath herself is a renowned poet and readers who enjoy Belzhar may well find themselves tempted to delve into Plath’s poetry.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – Lennie is trying to coming to terms with her sister’s death. She writes poetry about and to her sister and drops them all over town. The use of poetry to express feelings is an important part of the novel and very moving.