If you’d have asked me back in 2020 if I read poetry that would have been the response that you would have received from me. I wasn’t even sure I liked poetry. I firmly believed that it just wasn’t for me. A little like fiction or nonfiction - often one is preferred over the other. I thought poetry was for other people.
Do you read poetry? Do you like poetry?
Did you answer yes to the above? Maybe you said I don’t like poetry, I love poetry - fantastic - you’ve caught the magical poetry bug and long may it continue. Please shout loudly of your adoration to all those around you. Although, if the answer to these questions is “no” or “not much” then you must read on.
As someone who reviews children’s books I neared the end of 2021 and realized that poetry was very much underrepresented in my reviews. Of course I love to review books that are genres and topics I enjoy but I also try to ensure that the books I review are what my audience are looking for. I was failing them massively when it came to poetry!
Therefore, in 2022 I decided I would begin a new habit - to read at least one poem every day. Poetry could come from books, online or anywhere else I found it, they could be long or short, funny or haunting but I would ensure I would read at least one piece each day. I was very determined and managed to find good online sources when I had spells in hospital during the year.
I began with a couple of children’s anthologies of my daughter’s we had at home. Then I discovered that some of the books I’d ‘saved’ from my childhood at my Mom’s house were actually poetry books. I requested books from the library and found brilliant websites online with access to all sorts of poetry.
The more I read the more I realized how much I adored poetry. Actually, I’d always loved poetry. I recalled as a child returning to my favorite poetry books over and over. Wonderful teachers reading poetry frequently that I could recite by heart. The English projects in school that gave me fond memories were nearly all poetry. When had I fallen out of love with poetry and why?
Time. Work. Life. That’s what happened. Other things replaced my happy times with poetry. As a child, and into my teens, poetry had always been there. Poems that made you smile from ear to ear and filled your days with glee but also the solidarity and understanding of poetry that sheltered you when sadness and grief took hold, poetry that held you tight in its embrace mirroring your emotions in the way only poetry could.
Reading a poem a day was the single most enriching thing I did for my life in 2022. Sharing poetry with my daughter was and still is a magical time for us. For 2023 my goal is to encourage as many people as possible to read poetry. So, if you don’t already read poetry - this is you! If you think a poem a day is too much, commit to one poem a week.
If you think you don’t like poetry then I’d consider whether you’ve found the style of poetry that you like yet. There is such a wealth of choice; it’s like being a kid in a sweetshop! Maybe you only enjoy poetry that rhymes, do you prefer illustrated poetry? Maybe you’d like acrostic poetry, a haiku or a limerick. There’s poetry to suit every mood and topic - it’s just a case of discovering what you love. I very much enjoyed reading last year’s post for National Poetry Month in April. You can find the post here and it will give you wonderful inspiration particularly in ekphrastic poetry.
If you are an educator I implore you to read a poem a day with your classes, whatever subject you teach. Yes, read them poems you adore, but include a diverse range in your repertoire. You can read Kindness is a Kite String by Michelle Schaub - through poetry, the inspiring words uplift young readers, planting seeds of empathy, kindness and community support.
The poem you read that day may be just the poem that someone needs to hear to bring them warmth and comfort or get their mind pondering. You can find oodles of poetry inspiration for children and adults of all ages here on my blog.
Don’t wait until a new year to start your new poetry habit. However, if you’re looking for a launch date then National Poetry Month this April would be the perfect time to start. I hope that poetry will enrich your life. I’d love to know what you’re reading so do share with me on my blog or social channels.Lisa Griffiths blogs at Busy Busy Learning all things books, crafts and play. Lisa is a children’s book reviewer and Mom to a voracious bookworm aged 6. Erstwhile early years and primary school teacher hoping to return to the classroom one day.