Five Things I’ve Learned About Children’s Poetry

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Poetry at Play

Five Things I’ve Learned About Children’s Poetry

By Steven Withrow

I realized recently that I’ve been studying poetry for children, in one form or another, more than half my life—and I’ve been surrounded by the stuff since birth. I’ve read every book or piece I could find on the subject, and I’ve explored thousands of poems from at least five continents. Apart from what I’ve gleaned from my own reading and writing, I’ve also spoken at length with hundreds of others—grown-ups and kids—who have a stake in children’s poetry. From that concatenation of experiences, I’ve learned a great many lessons—sometimes clarifying, often contradictory—and in the interest of generating reflection and discussion, I thought I’d share with you a mere five.

  1. Children’s Poetry is ancient and global and ever-evolving. It has its own distinct tradition at the confluence of the histories of Children’s Literature and Poetry-as-a-Whole. It’s a damned big subject…

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