April is National Poetry Month, and it’s a great time to appreciate the greats, from the timeless classics of the distant past to more recent works.
Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass can be had for free in a Kindle edition, and this volume belongs in every well-stocked Kindle library.
If you know e. e. cummings as a poet, you’ll be fascinated by the Audible recording of his autobiographical novel, The Enormous Room, in which he relates the tale of imprisonment in France in WW I. The book is also available in a Kindle edition. You may find even greater depth and meaning in his poetry after listening to this book. If you’ve never read any of cummings’ poetry, The Early Poems Of E. E. Cummings [Illustrated] is a great place to start.
Does this stanza ring a bell?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
If so, you might want to pick up William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, which includes the poem, The Tyger.
Poems by Emily Dickinson, Three Series, Complete is available for free in a Kindle edition, and the Kindle edition of The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath, which includes works by Plath along with biographical information and critical analysis, is available for $9.99. There are so many more greats in classic poetry, it’s impossible to cover them all in a single post. But a terrific survey can be had in Immortal Poets, which covers ground from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Beowulf and Chaucer to Poe, Emerson, Twain, Longfellow, and much more. Priced at just $6.50, this collection is a great buy and will serve as a poetry reference for years to come.
And what post about Poetry Month would be complete without mention of the wonderful Shel Silverstein? Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic are only available in hard copy editions, but both of these anniversary editions are hardcovers that include a CD with the author reading the poems, and each is currently priced at just $15.63. These books are a terrific way to introduce kids to poetry that’s a little more sophisticated and sly than nursery rhymes, but still completely accessible and entertaining to a child.