Real, Live Poets

When most middle grade kids think of poets, they picture...
someone like this. (That's Percy Bysshe Shelley, btw--a pretty cool dude, though he probably doesn't look very exciting to tweens.)

That's why, when I was a middle grade teacher, I loved introducing students to the work of living poets. I once had a class read an entire collection by Billy Collins, and guess what? They loved it! They couldn't believe that poetry could be funny and of-the-moment and conversational. Their idea of poetry had always been something to the tune of, "Art thou a flower, o thou flower?" Or assorted other odes to nature. Not knocking a good ode to nature, but other subjects have been covered since the Romantic period.

And wouldn't you know it? Smack Dabber Irene Latham is a real, live poet! And she's amazing! And she does school visits! She once visited my classroom and dazzled the kids. They hung on her every word. If nothing else, I can confidently say that my students are fully aware that poetry is alive and well.
I'd encourage parents and teachers to make plans now to book a real, live poet such as Irene for a school visit next year.

Happy Poetry Month!

Ginger Rue is the author of the Aleca Zamm series from Aladdin and the Tig Ripley series from Sleeping Bear.


  1. Irene's poetry is amazing and very kid-friendly. Thanks for highlighting one of our own!


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