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April 2021 is the 25th Annual National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month was founded by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, and celebrates and remembers the role poetry and poets have played in American culture.

To celebrate, The Maynard Public Library's StoryWalk® has been turned into a Poetry Walk!

Learn more about the 20 poets and poems featured along the Poetry Walk below.

2021 Poetry Walk

Poem #1

"How to Build a Poem" by Charles Ghigna

For more information about Charles Ghigna, click here.

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Poems #2 & #3

"Six Words" and "Tehran Spring" by Lloyd Schwartz

Lloyd Schwartz is a poet, a professor at University of Massachusetts Boston, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Prose, Poems, and Letters. He is currently the Poet Laureate of Somerville and a frequent contributor to NPR’s Fresh Air. Besides Little Kisses, his works include Goodnight, Gracie and These People.

 

He visited the Maynard Public Library virtually in February 2021 to discuss poet Elizabeth Bishop. 

Click here to learn more about Lloyd Schwartz

Poem #4

"The Frog Race" by Chris Harris

For more information about Chris Harris, click here.

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Poem #7

"The End" by A.A. Milne

"The End" was originally published in a collection of 35 poems called Now We Are Six in 1927. Several of the poems, including "The End" included illustrations of Milne's most famous fictional character, Winnie-the-Pooh. Now We Are Six was a follow-up collection to When We Were Very Young. Along with his Winnie-the-Pooh writings, Milne was a playwright and World War I veteran. 

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Poems #5 & #6

"Ought" and "N/Ought" by Kiki Petrosino

For more about Kiki Petrosino, click here.

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Poems #8 & #9

"Spring Pools" and "In a Disused Graveyard" by Robert Frost

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco but moved to Lawrence, MA in 1884 at the age of 10. While he was able to publish his first poem just 2 years after graduating high school, it would be almost 15 years and require moving to England before he would be considered a celebrated literary figure. In 1961, just 2 years before his death, Frost was invited to read a poem during John F. Kennedy's presidential inauguration. His work is often considered to be at a cross roads between 19th-century Romantic poets and modern poetry. He continues to be one considered one of the most revered American poets of all time. Click here for more information about Robert Frost. The poems on the Poetry Walk were taken from The Road Not Taken: An Introduction to Robert Frost.

Poem #10

"The N-Bomb" and "Piano Lessons" by Charles Waters & Irene Latham

For more information about Charles Waters, click here.

For more information about Irene Latham, click here.

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Poem #11

Gmorning, Gnight! by   Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best known for creating the Broadway hit Hamilton,      Lin-Manuel Miranda has written and created numerous musical pieces. This poem, along with the rest in Gmorning, Gnight! little pep talks for me & you, were originally posted on Twitter as positive ways to start (Gmorning) and end (Gnight) the day. For more information, click here.

Poem #12

"Ogres are Ugly" and "Visionary" by Douglas Florian

Before becoming a poet, Florian was a cartoonist. He was inspired to write poetry for children after reading an anthology called Oh, That's Ridiculous. Since then, he has written and illustrated dozens of books of children's poetry, including Dinothesaurus, Shiver me Timbers, Laugh-eteria, and How to Draw a Dragon. For more about Douglas Florian, visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/douglas-florian

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Poem #13

"Dream Variations" by Langston Hughes

For more information about Langston Hughes, click here.

Poem #14

"Dos Idiomas en la Biblioteca" by Margarita Engle [Two Languages in the Library]

"Dos Idiomas en la Biblioteca" is part of a poetry collection called ¡Bravo! Poemas sobre hispanos extraordinarios [also available in English as Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics] where each poem is a mini-biography of a Hispanic individual who made history. Margarita Engle is a Cuban-American from California. She has written numerous picture books for children, including Miguel's Brave Knight and Drum Dream Girl. Her writings for teens include Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots and The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom. She was the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate from June 2017 to June 2019. For more information, visit her website.

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Poem #15

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Born in England in 1806, Elizabeth Barrett Browning began writing at a young age. Her father self-published her first work when she was 14. At the age of 15, she suffered a spinal injury that left resulted in health problems for the rest of her life. Her first commercially published work with her name on it - she had published two volumes of poetry anonymously - was published in 1835, and she was considered to be a young poet of great promise. Though not always critically well received, her work remained popular. Emily Dickinson considered Barrett Browning a role model, and had a framed portrait of her in bedroom. In 1846, she eloped with Robert Browning - they married in secret and immediately moved to Italy. It wasn't until 3 years later that she shared the sonnets she'd written during their courtship. Her husband, also a poet, encouraged her to publish them. For privacy purposes, they insinuated that the poems were translations from Portuguese. In reality, the "Portuguese" in the title referred to Robert Browning's personal association of Elizabeth with a Portuguese character in one of her earlier poems. Sonnets from the Portuguese have remained her most popular poems to date. For more about Elizabeth Barrett Browning, visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/elizabeth-barrett-browning

Poem #16

"The Eagle" by Deborah Ruddell

Today at the Bluebird Cafe was Ruddell's first children's book. Her second book, A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems was an American Library Association Notable Children's Book. Before becoming a writer, she was an art teacher and graphic designer.

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Poem #23

"First Book" by Rita Dove

When Rita Dove was named National Poet Laureate in 1993, she was both the youngest person and the first Black person to ever hold the title. Her first published collection of poetry was The Yellow House on the Corner in 1980. "The First Book" was first published as part of a collection called On the Bus with Rosa Parks in 1999. She has published both poetry and novels, and was the recipient of the 2017 NAACP Image Award.

Visit the Poetry Foundations website for more about Rita Dove!

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Poem #19

"Beyond" by Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo had been the U.S. Poet Laureate since June 2019 and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Her work is strongly grounded in her indigenous identity. "Beyond" is from her 2019 collection An American Sunrise: Poems, which retells the story of the forced relocation of the Muscogee from their lands in Mississippi to Oklahoma in the 1800s and examines the impact that had on her family, Muscogee culture, and more. Her first collection of poems was published in 1975, and she has since received numerous awards and recognition, including the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living US poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition and is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets. Other collections by Harjo include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human, and She Had Some Horses. To learn more about Joy Harjo, visit her Poetry Foundation biography or her website.

Poem #18

"Contemporary Haiku: Celebrating Bashō" by Chris Coderley with Kwame Alexander and Marjory Wentworth

Kwame Alexander is a poet and educator. He's written over 21 books, and his novel in verse The Crossover won the 2015 Newbery Medal. He's written picture books, including How to Read a Book, teen novels including Solo and Swing, and adult books, as well as contributed to various anthologies. His latest book is a collaboration with James Patterson called Becoming Muhammad Ali.
Chris Coderley is a poet and elementary school teacher in Burlington, Ontario. He and Alexander have been friends for years, and in 2012 went to Bahia, Brazil for a cultural exchange program.
Marjory Wentworth was the Poet Laureate of South Carolina from 2003 to 2020. She is also a longtime friend of Kwame Alexander, and has written or co-written several books, including We are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emmanuel about the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Out of Wonder: Poets Celebrating Poets features poems about poets that have influenced the three authors' own poetry.

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Poems #21 & 22

"He Thought He Saw a Crocodile" and "Look, Look!" by Jack Prelutsky

My Dog May Be a Genius is just one of many peotry collections written by Jack Prelutsky. Others include Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems, The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders: Rhymes, and Something Big Has Been Here. Though he originally studied classical music, he decided to become a writer instead of an opera singer. He has been quoted as saying his ideas come from "Everywhere! Everything I see or hear can become a poem." To learn more about Jack Prelutsky, visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jack-prelutsky or https://poets.org/poet/jack-prelutsky

Poem #20

"My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson

For more information about Robert Louis Stevenson, click here

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Poem #17

"Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye

For more information about Naomi Shihab Nye, click here

Poem #24

"Our House" by Mark A. Malcolm

Aside from being a children's librarian, Mr. Mark is also a poet, a consummate kazoo-player and okay, a Yankees fan. But he asks you not to hold that against him!

To see what evens Mr. Mark is currently running, visit the Children's Page!