Not for the faint of heart

Her work is a reminder that poetry’s an art.
Her poems aren’t fluff and flowers–she’ll make you change that view.
If the gritty, dark, and powerful, is something your into.
Try some Ellen Hopkins–she’s the perfect place to start.

Wow. How was THAT for a sad attempt at poetry? Trust me, Ellen Hopkins is way better than little old me. She writes novels in verse about girls and drugs, alchohol, rape, abuse–definitely not for the faint of heart. Check them out (click on the covers to find the books in our catalog):

Crank by Ellen HopkinsBurned by Ellen HopkinsGlass by Ellen HopkinsIdentical by Ellen HopkinsImpulse by Ellen Hopkins

Novels in verse

Another great way to celebrate National Poetry Month is by reading a novel in verse. The poems in verse novels all tie together to tell a story–it’s a whole different way to enjoy a story AND poetry.

Shark girl by Kelly BinghamShark girl by Kelly Bingham
After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future.

After the death of Anna Gonzales by Terri FieldsAfter the death of Anna Gonzales by Terri Fields
Poems written in the voices of forty-seven people, including students, teachers, and other school staff, record the aftermath of a high school student’s suicide.

Sister Slam and the poetic motormouth roadtrip by Linda Oatman HighSister Slam and the poetic motormouth roadtrip by Linda Oatman High
In this novel told in slam verse, best friends and aspiring poets Laura and Twig embark on a road trip after graduating from high school, from Pennsylvania to New York City, to compete at slam poetry events.

The geography of girlhood by Kirsten SmithThe geography of girlhood by Kirsten Smith
A novel in verse, in which Penny Morrow describes the pain, happiness, and humor of growing up.

Split image by Mel GlennSplit image by Mel Glenn
A riveting story, told in poetry, about the seemingly perfect Laura Li and her life inside and out of Tower High School.

The realm of possibility by David LevithanThe realm of possibility by David Levithan
A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.

Street love by Walter Dean MyersStreet love by Walter Dean Myers
This story told in free verse is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.

What my girlfriend doesn't know by Sonia SonesWhat my girlfriend doesn’t know by Sonia Sones
Fourteen-year-old Robin Murphy is so unpopular at high school that his name is slang for “loser.” When he begins dating the beautiful and popular Sophie her reputation plummets, he finds acceptance as a student in a drawing class at Harvard, but where does that leave Sophie?

Make lemonade by Virginia Euwer WolffMake lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
In order to earn money for college, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn babysits for a teenage mother.

An ode to the aftermath

Speaking of the aftermath, I found a poem that I think perfectly sums up the storm. Here’s your poem of the week:

Thief by Audrey B. Baird

LIke the Sandman,
Storm Man
slips through the night,
a bag of rain
on his shoulder.
Wind gusts
from his nostrils!
Lightning flashes
from his fingers!
Thunder crashes
when he opens his bag!

And, like a thief,
Storm Man steal slumber away.

——from Storm coming!

Share your storm poetry in a comment!

Double the pleasure

A light in the attic by Shel Silverstein

I was talking with some friends the other night about the poetic genius Shel Silverstein. Since I tortured you yesterday with my not very good magnetic poetry poem, I thought two Shel Silverstein poems would be a nice treat. Enjoy and leave us a comment with YOUR favorite Shel poems.

Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony goone dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

   —from A light in the attic.

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you—just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

   —from Falling up.

Poetry – magnetic and un

One of the staff members here has a magnetic poetry board. I’ve wasted a lot of time moving those little magnetic words around to create a work of art. :) Just recently I discovered an online magnetic poetry board. Since it IS National Poetry Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to share it with you!

It’s from ReadWriteThink and you can find it here: If you don’t find the words you need, you can make “magnet” with your own words.

Here’s the poem I wrote, all with the magnets they’ve provided:

a good banana runs
to his quite quiet night
tired, he drinks
the guava moon

Pretty bad, huh? ;) I KNOW you can do better. Leave us a comment with YOUR magnetic poem.

Happy NPM!

April is National Poetry Month! Try reading a poem a day. Here’s one to get the month started:


Poetry is the home for all my yearnings
each poem a separate room
where wandering words
find a cool bed, a bowl of soup

where names of trees and cities
and people I know who want to know
knock on doors, ring bells,
invite me in for coffeee and a rhyme

where a loost tooth
and a caladium can meet
in the same stanza
share the same breath
split a doughnut on the sofa…

Let me come home then, and
Let me bring my lusting with me
and if you find a room
that fits, that pulls you
in and pushes you out
then call that a “homeroom”
hang your own pictures
on its invisible walls
(use juicy colors
that fill up your mouth like a sneeze—
crocodile green, periwinkle,
carve your own desires
on its invincible heart.

Make a poem
build a home.
—Kathi Appelt

Poems from homeroom by Kathi AppeltLike it? I got this one from Kathi Appelt’s Poems from Homeroom.
Other poems in this book include Revelations in which a student crushes on her science teacher, and Dreaming in Haiku—a surprisingly excellent melding of poetry and math. This book will give your poetry muscles a good workout. Not only is it filled with great poems, it is filled with writing advice and exercises as well. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Got a favorite poem you want to share? Leave us a comment!