Welcome to my guest poetry poster of the day, the woman with the best name ever, Renée LaTulippe!
Please stop what you’re doing and recite these four lines out loud right now. I’ll wait.
The very deep did rot – O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.
–The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Good! Now do it again, but really put some oomph into it! Add some hand gestures. Put some tension in your muscles. Change your voice. Chew those words up, suck out all their juices, and spit them out through your teeth. Go ahead, no one’s watching.
Great job! Now didn’t that feel…liberating? Wasn’t it fun? Can you imagine the looks on kids’ faces if you recited it with that much energy and that much animation and that much joy in every word? And what if the kids memorized it and chanted it and put on costumes and acted it out? Why, I’d bet they’d come away saying poetry ain’t so bad after all.
And they’d say that because they had lived the poetry. They hadn’t just sat at their desks dissecting it, tearing out its innards, counting metaphors, rummaging through the gore looking for meaning.
Poetry is alive! Poetry is meant to be spoken and heard and savored by ears, mouth, eyes, bodies. The very deep did rot! My goodness, that can’t be good! I can’t read those lines sitting in a chair. They bring me to my swollen feet; they give me a hunched back and a ruined, gravelly voice.
The joy of poetry is what led me to creating my video blog, No Water River. I had a stash of children’s poems clamoring to be heard, and thought Hey, why don’t I record these babies and put ‘em online? So I did.
But that didn’t seem like enough. I started thinking about how much time even young kids spend on the computer, and thought, Wouldn’t it be neat to put even more poetry in front of them so they can see it and hear it? That’s when I started asking other poets to join me and add their voices and poems, which has since snowballed into a mission to create a vast online video library of children’s poets reading their own work.
For Poetry Month, then, I invited some notable poets and authors to contribute videos to the library, and was so pleasantly surprised to receive enthusiastic responses. This month, I am pleased to be hosting
J. Patrick Lewis, current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate
Their accessibility and willingness to throw themselves into the world of video – most for the first time – is a testament to their dedication to children’s poetry and their shared goal of making poetry come alive for as many kids as we can reach.
When can you see them? Starting on April 2 with Michael Rosen, check in at No Water River on Mondays and Fridays throughout April to see and hear these accomplished poets sharing their work. If you don’t want to miss any, “like” NWR on Facebook to be notified of new posts.
I hope that as the library grows, parents, teachers, and librarians will use it as a resource to foster an early appreciation of poetry. If you’d like to help the cause, please share the poetry video library with parents, teachers, and kids!
To thank you, I leave you with this melancholy pig video. This Pig’s Got the Blues