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Library Lad and Ladies, May 2012: Poetry

Most everyone can recite a poem, be it a nursery rhyme, a psalm, or "Casey at the Bat." Poems have an almost magical way of touching the human soul through spare language and vivid imagery. By highlighting small details, poetry makes us more observant and contemplative; it slows us down. Poet Naomi Nye says, "We need poetry for nourishment, for noticing..." Read a poem today, notice life's small details and be nourished.

A Child's Treasury of Poems edited by Mark Daniel (1986). This book has my childhood favorites with some excellent illustrations. I still remember so many of them as my first introduction to poetry. These poems touched me, so that when I taught poetry-writing to second and third grade kids in my first Librarian job, I used this book as one of my sources. The kids liked it as much as I still do. Every child should have a copy to pore over in bed before they go to sleep. Add one to your nightly storytime routine.-Normalene Zeeman

Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge (2003). Grades 5-8. Forget the flowers. Spring is all about baseball and poetry, and in this slim little verse novel you get both. Kevin is fourteen and his team's MVP, but the start of the season hands him a blow: he has mononucleosis and can't play. His father gives him some poetry and a journal and suggests he tries his hand at writing poetry. Reluctant at first, Kevin finds delight in the elegant structures and rhythm of verse. Kevin experiments with different poetic forms, each poem bringing the reader and Kevin closer to the dull ache that Kevin has played ball so intently to hide.-Martha Baden.

Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs by Leonard Cohen (1993). Readers familiar with the haunting and thought provoking songs of Leonard Cohen will find some of the early ones published in this volume. As well, the skeletons of Cohen's later music are forming in this book. Often jarring and brutally honest, Stranger Music is a collection of sonnets and thoughts easily dipped into, set aside and returned to again. At times this work feels like a confession. At other times, it reads like a prayer. Regardless of the intent, Stranger Music offers the reader an insight into a wrestling match with world, and strangely almost unperceptively, seduces us into the skirmish.-- Russell Miller

Good Poems by Garrison Keillor (2002). Every morning Garrison Keillor hosts The Writer's Almanac on public radio and reads a poem, emphasizing how poetry can add meaning to our daily routine. This collection contains poems from these episodes, specifically chosen by Keillor for their clarity and frankness. Poetic legends such as Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bishop and Raymond Carver hold their place beside newer writers. Chapters are divided into themes and readers will enjoy experiencing sections chronologically or simply turning to poems under relevant topics.--Katy Willis

Prescott's Library Lad and Ladies are on the staff of the Prescott Public Library.

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