Friday, October 3, 2014

National Poetry Day ~By Suzy Leopold

Many readers and writers are familiar with Poetry Month that is celebrated during the month of April. During this springtime month, many Language Arts Teachers incorporate the study of poetry in the classroom. Students learn about the rhythm and rhyme of poetry, that just seems to sing, as one reads a poem.

My many students, throughout the years, from preschool through 8th grade, including college level students, and I enjoyed reading and writing poetry together in the classroom. Acrostic poems, Bio poems, Diamante poems, and Haiku were the top choices that my students learned about, wrote about and kept in their pockets.
Mrs. Leopold's Bio Poem
Do you know about National Poetry Day? Hopefully, your answer is a resounding, yes! 
Like a flower for it's hour. ~Walter de la Mare
Before I share information with you about National Poetry Day, you need to know about The Forward Arts Foundation

In 1991, William Sieghart, a poetry lover, noted a need for a published anthology containing the best poetry of the year. Sieghart published one himself. 

The Forward Arts Foundation 
The mission statement is: "A charity committed to widening poetry's audience, honouring achievement and supporting talent."

The purpose is: 
  • to identify and encourage talent
  • to inspire a love of poetry in people of all ages and circumstances
  • to support poets at all stages of their careers
  • to encourage collaboration with performers, musicians, artists, film-makers and social innovators
  • to build a sense of community through developing membership

Three years later, in 1994, Sieghart founded National Poetry Day. The annual event was yesterday.

National Poetry Day 
Thursday, October 2, 2014 
Theme: Remember
Think of a Poem
Making poetry heard is important. The Forward Arts Foundation has excellent lessons for celebrating poetry in the classroom. Just check out this link for many lesson plans and much more.

I have a memory of being introduced to poetry, when I was in 5th grade. 

My favorite poem, Me, is by Walter de La Mare, 1873~1956.

My favorite poem from 5th grade.
Do you believe I still have it?
by Walter de la Mare

As long as I live
I shall always be
My Self-and no other,
Just me.

Like a tree.
Violets that grow in my 
Prairie Flower Garden.

Like a willow or elder,
An aspen, a thorn,
Or a cypress forlorn.

Like a flower,
For its hour
A primrose, a pink,

Or a violet - 

Sunned by the sun,

And with dewdrops wet.

Always just me.

Research shows that beginning readers benefit from listening to stories and poems that rhyme. Emergent readers and writers become stronger and better readers.

Do you have a favorite poet? Can you recite a poem by memory?

It's not too late to celebrate the beauty of poetry. Why wait until the month of April or the one day in October? Celebrate the love of poetry all year long with Kristine O'Connell George.

What poem are you thinking of? Do you have a special poem that you remember as a kid? Which poem do you carry in your pocket? Do you have a poem that you hold deeply in your heart? Poetry must be heard! Poetry must be shared!
Think of a Poem with Suzy Q


  1. Appreciations for this education, Suzy!

    In de la Mare, above, the lines "I shall always be My-Self and no other," especially pull me in. Thank you for sharing your favorite.

    I tend to like long poems & I like to say lines/stanzas from Longfellow, Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Edna St. Vincent Milay, Carol Ann Duffy, Jane Taylor, Sandberg, Frost, Angelou, & others.

    FOLD ME A POEM by Kristine who you mention in this lovely post is a title I enjoy & I've used the origami activities (the illustrations are fabulous in it, too.)

    Again, thank you for the gift of this article. Makes me smile. Happy Poetry Day, everyone!

  2. Jan: It is my pleasure to share the love of reading and poetry with you, our readers, students, family & friends. Thank you for sharing a list of many outstanding poets. So good to know you are familiar with Kristine's Fold Me a Poem. Aren't foldables and origami so fun to do! Hugs.

  3. Suzy Q, love this post an dur pic at the bottom. Fav poem? I am nobody, Emily Dickens...
    I’m Nobody! Who are you?
    Are you – Nobody – too?
    Then there’s a pair of us!
    Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

    How dreary – to be – Somebody!
    How public – like a Frog –
    To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
    To an admiring Bog!

  4. Kathy: Emily Dickinson, 1830~1860! Such an exceptional poet! Thank you for sharing your favorite poem. ~Suzy Q

  5. The elementary school I attended as a child required students to memorize poetry. I'm so grateful for this. I can still recite, by heart, "Block City" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost, and most of "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. When a parent complained, I remember the principal saying, "When your child is walking home from school, wouldn't you rather have a wonderful poem running through their head, rather than a commercial jingle?" I'm sure this exposure the poetry helped start me on the path to becoming a poet.

  6. I love this! I'm late to the party, but am adding it to my calendar for next year. On another note, I told my kids, when they were little, that they never needed to 'buy' me anything ever again. Instead, I asked that they memorize a poem and share it with me as their 'gift.' My daughter memorized the Walter de la Mare poem you chose and it made me smile in a very big way. Guess what? She still remembers the poem and I subversively got her to give 'herself' a present for my birthday! :) Sneaky!


  7. Todd: It's OK; we can extend the Poetry Party. We do not have to wait for a designated day on the calendar to tell us to celebrate the love of poetry. You are an amazing Dad! How wonderful that you share the love of literacy with your kids. That is a true gift all wrapped special package. Sneaky; no! Smart; yes! It warms my heart to know that Grace memorized my favorite poem by Walter de la Mare. ~Suzy