Looking for a book, DVD, CD, or other item? Search our catalog!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Poetry Friday--Out Loud!

I love the cover of Poetry Out Loud [821.008 POE] for its unbridled enthusiasm! In case you can't read it, the cover proclaims
Over 100 Great Poems to Pronounce Trippingly on the Tongue, from "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Waste Land" to "Casey at the Bat" and "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat"

Also on the cover is this:
Read to Your Love, Dramatize for Your Children, Perform at a Party, or Sing in the Shower

To all that I said, "YES! Why not!" And then I read James Earl Jones' "Introduction,"
Poetry has always been a lifeline for me. When I was a small boy, I began to stutter. From the time I was nearly six until I was about fourteen, I chose silence over speech. I retreated into muteness because my stuttering made speaking too difficult. But because I needed some way to express myself, even to myself, and to track the progress of my mind, I became a "closet" poet. I loved poetry, and began writing it myself.

In one of those fortunate accidents that can change lives, my high school English teacher in Brethren, Michigan, helped me to use poetry to reclaim my ability to speak. When Professor Donald Crouch discovered that I wrote poems, he asked to see some. One seemed to him good enough that he wondered if I might have plagiarized it. To defend myself, I had to read the poem aloud. Since I never spoke at school, this was an ordeal for me, but my honor was at stake. I had no choice but to stand up and read my poem to my teacher and classmates.

To my amazement and theirs, I read it without stumbling.
What an awesome story and a testament to the power of poetry!

Poetry Out Loud is an outstanding little book from its handy size, about 6" x 7," which makes it easy to hold while reading aloud, to the bits of supplementary info running down the sides. And did I mention that the poems chosen are also outstanding? Here's one by Thomas Hardy:

The thrushes sing as the sun is going
      And the finches whistle in ones and pairs,
And as it gets dark loud nightingales
            In bushes
Pipe, as they can when April wears,
      As if all Time were theirs.

These are brand new birds of twelve-months' growing
      Which a year ago, or less than twain
No finches were, nor nightingales,
            Nor thrushes,
But only particles of grain,
      And earth, and air, and rain.

The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Go enjoy some poetry!


  1. Anonymous8:20 AM

    This sounds like a great book--thanks for sharing. I'd seen it mentioned elsewhere, but now I for sure need to get my hands on it!


  2. Love the James Earl Jones story! Reminds me of one I heard about Jim Carrey, but of course for Jim, it was doing a comedy bit at the end of the school day that helped him through is difficult childhood... thanks for sharing!

  3. Fabulous book! Can't wait to meet it in person!

    I also love your poem choice...what the birds were before they were birds. I won't ever look at the bird feeder in the same way!