You can learn a poem so well that you can say it out loud without looking at the page! Yes, you! This great collection of poems short and long, funny and sad, is a great place to start.
Start with a very short poem like “Rain” by Robert Louis Stevenson or Edward Lear’s limerick “There was an old person of Ware” to feel the rhythm and beat of poetry.
You’ll find poems about people, including Francisco X. Alarcon’s bilingual “San Francisco” and “The Twins” by Elizabeth Madox Roberts, and about animals – Vachel Lindsay’s “The Little Turtle” has the rhythm of a jump-roping chant!
Food poems are usually funny, says Mary Ann Hoberman, who selected these 120 poems, and “I eat my peas with honey” (by unknown poet) and “Miss T.” by Walter de la Mare prove her point. Time, weather, and the seasons are reflected in perfect poems to recite, like Langston Hughes’ “April Rain Song” and Eve Merriam’s “Hurry”.
You can learn happy poems – “Toad by the Road” by Joanne Ryder - and sad poems – Hoberman’s own lament for “My Father” who doesn’t live here now – and scary poems – “That Old Haunted House” by Judith Viorst – and poems from storybooks – “The Road Goes Ever On” from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
Michael Emberley’s humorous drawings perfectly illustrate every poem and can help you remember each one. Hoberman wraps up this great collection with tips for learning poems by heart and a section of long poems that read like songs as a challenge to your memorizing skills.
Sing them, tap them, dance them, clap them – learn poems by heart and you will always have them!
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA