Monday, April 28, 2014

Kenn Nesbitt, Children's Poet Laureate ~ Part 1 ~ by Patricia Toht

Look at that armful of poetry books!

If you don't know this fellow, you're missing out! He's a funny and prolific poet, promoter of all things poetry, and our current Children's Poet Laureate -- KENN NESBITT! 

(Pause for applause.)

Come, join me for virtual tea and scones, while Kenn tells us about his role as Poet Laureate, offers hints on helping kids enjoy poetry, and talks Common Core. 

PT: You’re now ten months into your position as Children’s Poet Laureate. How’s it going? What has been your favorite part?

KN: In a way, things aren't much different for me now than they were a year ago. That is, I'm still doing everything I can to promote poetry for children. The biggest difference, and probably my favorite part, is that I have created a new website -- -- to share the work of today's most popular children's poets. Every day of the school year, I post a different poem on the home page for teachers to share with their students. I've been pleased with how well Poetry Minute has been received. 

PT: I love Poetry Minute! I signed up through the website to get daily deliveries of poems on my Facebook page. 

PT: How can we help children learn to love poetry?

KN: I think the best way to help children learn to love poetry is to help them discover what kind of poetry they like best. Not everyone loves all kinds of poems. Some kids will enjoy narrative poems, while others may prefer haiku. For some, free verse will be their favorite, while others will be drawn to humor or wordplay. Once a child discovers that there is a particular type of poetry they enjoy, they will be more likely to want to delve deeper and discover more poetry of the kind they like.

PT: You also have many options on your website, Poetry 4 Kids, for children and adults to explore poetry and play with words. It's a treasure chest of goodies! (And thanks to you, Kenn - I'm completely obsessed with the game, Wordjack.)

PT: Do you think the adoption of Core Curriculum Standards will have a positive or negative effect on the use of poetry in schools?

KN: I couldn't say. I'm not a fan of testing kids on their skills at poetic analysis, as I think this makes reading a chore rather than something one does for the joy of it. On the other hand, given today's educational environment where students are often only taught what they are going to be tested on, I think it's a good thing that poetry is part of the Common Core. Without this, they might have little or no exposure to poetry in school.

PT: Thank you, Kenn! Please come back tomorrow and we'll talk about your process for writing poems and your tips for authors who like to write in rhyme.

I hope you enjoyed your tea and scones, GROG readers. Please join us tomorrow for Part 2!


  1. Great interview! I enjoy getting poems in my email!

  2. His poems will start your day with a smile, Tina. :)

  3. Wonderful interview. I look forward to the rest tomorrow. Thanks for a great post.

  4. Excellent interview--and I love Poetry Minute!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I'm so glad I signed up for Poetry Minute, too. Not only does it feed me daily poems, but it also introduces me to some poets that have slipped by my radar. I'm sure there are Laura Purdie Salas poems in the mix!

  5. Pat, thanks for the post. I'm going to sign up too!

  6. I will enjoy Poetry Minute too. Thanks for this fine interview. Both of you.

  7. Thanks for the interview! I've been a Kenn Nesbitt fan for quite some time!

  8. Thank you, Patti, Thank you, Kenn Nesbitt. I was *missing out!* Thank you for introducing me to Mr. Nesbitt. The scones are scrumptious. More tea, please. ~Suzy Leopold

  9. Ditto what ever reader here said.
    Plus, thank you for the disappearing scrumptious teacake pastry photograph. From you Pat? Love it. And also the other images at Part Two. (Which, backwyard me, came thru that way & enjoyed it, first.