In 1912, Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley finished his last recording session for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Out of around twenty recordings made during five days of readings, only four of the discs were ever issued by Victor.
The James Whitcomb Riley Recordings at the Indianapolis Public Library consist of 17 unpublished recordings of Mr. Riley reading his work. There are sad poems, happy poems, stories, tales, and a funny little speech, The Soldier’s Story, that Riley must have told many times.
These may well be the only copies in existence of these titles – the only copy, for instance, of Riley himself reading When the Frost is on the Punkin. There is a lot of static…there were no high fidelity recordings in 1912, but you can follow along with the words and hear the poet himself read the poem the way he meant it to be read.
National Poetry Month is a national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The books on this page are chapter book stories…written in verse. You might not think of these kinds of books right away when you think of poetry. The word “poetry” probably makes you think of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and Shel Silverstein. But these books are poetry too, and how amazing, an author writing a whole chapter book in verse.
In eighteenth-century West Africa, a boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements–Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth–is captured and taken to America as a slave.
“Loved ones are never forgotten
When we continue to tell their stories.” (from back cover of the book)
Before reading this story/poem, learn a new word “griot” – meaning a West African storyteller, praise singer, poet, and musician. The griot relates the story of Dinga, the blacksmith, and his son Musafa, who becomes one of “the Taken”. Dinga calls to the four elements – earth, fire, water, wind – to find his son. Each element tells about its search, and wind, becoming a hurricane to cross the ocean, finds Musafa – a slave apprenticed to a blacksmith. The drawing by Leo and Diane Dillon enliven the story, making it a work of art.
Recommended by Cindy Childers, Garfield Park Branch Library
The only sibling left in the Dickinson house In Amherst, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1849, Emily gets a dog who becomes her constant companion and who is featured in some of the poems she writes. Includes brief notes on the life and work of Emily Dickinson.
“I read this book with my great-aunt last week-end and I love it. The story, the poems and the pictures are beautiful! The story of a very large dog and a very small woman that loved to write poetry – Emily Dickinson. My favorite poem in the story is:
“Twas my one glory Let it be Remembered I was owned of thee.”
Emily and her dog, Carlo, were best friends and loved to walk and watch – flowers, frogs, everything. They were best friends! I love gardens, dogs and poems! I hope you like it too.”
Some more books you might like about the writer Emily Dickinson – her life and her poetry:
Have fun with the Shel Silverstein inspired activites in this downloadable kit. A “Shel”ebration of Every Thing On It for National Poetry Month: April, 2012.
Some of you might already have read Shel Silverstein’s most famous book of poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends. This one is just the same – full of funny poems and imaginative funny drawings. Shel died in 1999 though…so where did this book come from? Apparently, when he died Shel left quite a few finished poems that he had not had a chance to publish in a book yet. For this book, his family selected the poems. Pretty nice to get one more gift from Uncle Shelby. You can tell by some of the poem titles they’re all his: “Burpin’ Ben,” “Nasty Nancy’s Store,” and “Transparent Tim.” Author: Shel Silverstein
Dowload this kit to “Shel”ebrate National Poetry Month with Shel Silverstein activities.
Here are a couple more funny poetry books by Shel plus another one by another funny poet – Jack Prelutsky. The last one, For Laughing Out Loud – that one is a collection of funny poems written by a bunch of different people.