Thursday, April 3, 2014

POETRY FRIDAY: Celebrating Shel Silverstein and National Poetry Month!

Thanks to Amy at The Poem Farm for hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!
 
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Since April is a time to celebrate all things poetry, I decided to focus on my favorite poets in my Poetry Friday posts this month. Today, I'm focusing on my #1 favorite poet of all time, Shel Silverstein. A man of many talents, Silverstein is best remembered for the books of silly, funny poems that he wrote and illustrated.  

This is the first Silverstein book I remember reading.

I don’t remember exactly when I heard my first Silverstein poem, but I know that I became a huge fan very early on. The silliness and playfulness of his poetry delighted me, and fed my fascination with words and how they all fit together. I read his books for fun—not because I had to read them for school. My boys love these same books now too, and it tickles me when they choose one of Silverstein's books over whatever MG or YA adventure book they are reading on their Kindles.

One of my favorite Silverstein poems is “How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes,” from A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC. This made me laugh as a child because I thought it was brilliant! As an adult I marvel at the childish logic Silverstein channels in this poem. I see NOW why I loved his poetry so much THEN, and it inspires me to be more intentionally “childlike” when I sit down to write.    
How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes
If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful, boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor—
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore.
 
I always loved this drawing by Silverstein!
 
Another favorite Silverstein poem of mine was (and still is) “Sick,” from WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS.
Sick

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
For the rest of this poem, click here. 
 
For more fabulous poems by Silverstein, check out the list of books on the official Shel Silverstein website here. And the website is celebrating National Poetry Month, too! Check out this post for great teaching resources. For a treasure trove of fun activities for teaching (and playing with!) Silverstein’s poetry, explore the main site, here

What is your favorite Silverstein poem?

Happy National Poetry Month, and Happy Writing!

28 comments:

  1. My childhood copies of Shel's books are so dogeared and loved. I remember many happy days in my room - just with him and his words. Happy Poetry Friday! May you have a "Hug O'War!"

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy! Thanks again for hosting Poetry Friday!!!!

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  2. I don't know how many times I read Where The Sidewalk Ends when I was a child! So much to love! I'm not sure which of his poems is my favorite, but here's one that I shared: http://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/2011/09/real-riches.html

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    1. I love this poem, Tabatha! Silverstein had such depth to his poetry--it is so nice to read something a bit more "serious" from him. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Uncle Shelby--what a master! I love "Sick"--perfect ending after that list of maladies. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Buffy! I love thinking of Silverstein as "Uncle Shelby!" = )

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  4. Love Shel Silverstein. He's a master. My favorite is One Little Did: All the coulda shoulda woulda's made way for one little did. And I paraphrase badly. :)

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  5. I forget how much I enjoy this mad genius' poetry. Silvestein manages to tell it like it is while lowering our defenses so we can let it in, with laughter.

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    1. YES! That is a perfect description of Silverstein's work, Mirka!

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  6. Hehe ... enthusiastic incompetence! Ummm, doesn't fly with me. Shel is a favorite around our home too.

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    1. My middle sister used to say this poem *while* drying the dishes--so funny! = )

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  7. "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" is my favorite! Thought I often recite for kids at school visits this 4 liner: The Sitter
    Mrs. McTwitter the babysitter,
    I think she's a little bit crazy.
    She thinks the babysitter's supposed
    to sit upon the baby.
    :) Thank you for sharing!

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  8. One of my all-time favorite poets, as well, Becky! Thank you for spotlighting him here today-- can never get enough of Shel Silverstein.

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  9. I love "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out'...my favorite group of words--rubbery blubbery macaroni. My daughters would shout this when I made mac and cheese when they were little.

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    1. I LOVE "rubbery blubbery macaroni!!!" = )

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  10. I love Shel Silverstein - we've done several features of his poetry and his books on GatheringBooks when we had our poetry theme a few years back. One of my absolute favourites is "The Clock Man." So poignant, deeply moving. Thank you for sharing this Becky!

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    1. I need to go back and re-read "The Clock Man." Thank you, Myra! = )

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  11. I love Where the Sidewalk Ends! I bought it as a special treat while on vacation. My favourites are Sick, Sarah Cynthia, and the one about a king eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and getting his jaws glued. (Lol, 'How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes' is new to me and I enjoy it tremendously. Thanks for sharing it here, Becky!)

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  12. I have so many favorites, but this bit came immediately to mind (as it did, apparently, for several others!): Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.

    Shel is definitely a favorite of mine and my students. I periodically have to put his books in the closet so that students will be forced to choose from the other 200 poetry books in my collection!!

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    1. I know--I used to periodically take mine off the shelf in my classroom, or the kids would ignore the other wonderful poets! My boys do this sometimes, too. I think that Silverstein will never get old! = )

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  13. It's been way too long since I flipped through Where The Sidewalk Ends! They are the most playful, imaginative poems.

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  14. My children and I love, love, loved Silverstein's poems. They were a big part of our poetry curriculum during the elementary years. Thanks for sharing some of your favorites here. Makes me want to crawl up into the attic and dig out those old books.

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    1. They really are wonderful, aren't they? = )

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