National Poetry Month is coming up quickly! With the sun peeking out, snow melting, and everything in flux, there is plenty of inspiration for the poets out there. I’m personally a fan of Emily Dickinson – and we have many books about her and her poems! Writing poetry can be extremely cathartic but sometimes it’s just hard to put the pen to the page and actually write. Below I’ve provided some of the fabulous resources we have for learning to write your own poetry as well as novels and collections written by young poets themselves for inspiration!
Immersed in Verse: an Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet’s Life by Allan Wolf is a helpful introduction into the wonderful world of poetry. Wolf provides short examples of poems from authors such as Shakespeare and Byron to help familiarize beginners; he also helps explain concepts such as how the way a poem’s structure can change the work’s tone and how words and sentences are emphasized. The book also has cute illustrations throughout by Tuesday Mourning.
A lot of the poetry available at TBPL is written by adults, which is wonderful, but these poets fail to capture the young adult experience. If you’re looking for poetry written by young adults themselves, check out Time You Let Me in : 25 Poets Under 25, a collection selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Besides being written by authors who are currently living the young adult experience, what I really appreciated was how diverse the authors’ backgrounds were: One was homeless in grade school, another was born in Pakistan, and another was a Bon Buddist. Because of this, the collected poems offer excellent windows into others’ lives as well as mirrors into one’s own life.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a fiction novel all about expressing yourself through art. The main character Xiomara, who writes as X, turns to her journal in order to express what her fists can’t. X struggles with her mother’s forceful obedience to the church’s rules, unwanted attention, misogyny, and falling in love throughout the rhythmic, lyrical lines of this novel. When she’s asked to join her school’s slam poetry group, X learns to use her voice and decides to take back her power.
In order to celebrate this wonderful month, the library will be hosting a poetry contest from April 6 until June 6 for youth aged 10-18. Your poem’s theme must be about culture — what does it mean to you? What is culture? How do we celebrate it? All qualifying submissions will be read by our panel of judges and compiled into a book to be sold at the Outside the Lines Storyteller Festival 2020. The winner will be published in Connect, our library newsletter. Go to www.tbpl.ca/teens for submission details!
If poetry’s not your style or you’re looking for other things to read, check out www.tbpl.ca/teens-read which has lots of book lists and new release updates! Check us out on Instagram too @tbplteens to see what else we’ve got going on (we have a ton of free program and volunteer opportunities for teens and tweens!) or just to tell me what you think of the new books that come out.
Nicole Koroscil – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.