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Poetry Off the Shelf- Just for Fun


1) Mary Kinzie takes on Louise Bogan’s poem “Medusa” and explains what makes it a great poem. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/2666

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,

Facing a sheer sky.

Everything moved, —a bell hung ready to strike,

Sun and reflection wheeled by.


When the bare eyes were before me

And the hissing hair,

Held up at a window, seen through a door.

The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead

Formed in the air.


This is a dead scene forever now.

Nothing will ever stir.

The end will never brighten it more than this,

Nor the rain blur.


The water will always fall, and will not fall,

And the tipped bell make no sound.

The grass will always be growing for hay

Deep on the ground.


And I shall stand here like a shadow

Under the great balanced day,

My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,

And does not drift away.

Source: Body of this Death: Poems (1923)

Excerpt:  With the assistance of William Jay Smith, Bogan compiled an anthology of poems for children. The Golden Journey: Poems for Young People , with poems ranging from Shakespeare to Dylan Thomas, was described by James Dickey as possibly "the best general anthology of poems for young people ever compiled. By the poems they present, by their arrangement and timing, the editors subtly hold out the possibility that a child—though a child—is capable of rising to good poems, and so of becoming, through an encounter which also requires much of him, something more than he was. . . . [This book] could have been selected only by poets as distinguished as these two, and by human beings who realize that to make the wrong concessions to children is injurious to them."   

2) The New Johnny Appleseed of Children’s Poetry  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/3004

Children’s lit scholar Sylvia Vardell discusses J. Patrick Lewis and why children's poetry doesn't always get the attention it deserves.