The girls and I love reading poetry together. We’re not poetry scholars: we don’t study each poem in depth. We just enjoy reading poems out loud, delighting in the sounds of the words and the rhythms and rhymes, and the images that are conjured up in our imaginations. Sometimes we photocopy a favourite poem to paste into our journals. Sometimes (but not always) the girls feel compelled to add their own illustrations. Our study of poetry is pure enjoyment, and nothing else.
I found a free poetry book online called Poems Every Child Should Know by Mary E. Burt. It’s a big volume, lots to enjoy. Where to start? I dipped in at random, trying a poem out, asking the girls for their opinions, until we found some we all liked.
One day by chance, we came across a nautical poem: The Wreck of the Hesperus by Longfellow (one of our favourite poets) which is based on an historical event.
Then we found a poem called The Inchcape Rock by Robert Southey, that captured our imagination.
Soon we were looking for more nautical poems to add to our collection. Here’s a list of the ones we found in this volume (there are probably more!)
A while later, we stumbled across a romantic ballad and another… We started a new collection of poems which included these ones:
Poems Every Child Should Know is available as a free ebook in various formats from Project Gutenberg, or Books Should be Free.
A paperback book can be purchased from Yesterday’s Classics .
It can be read online at many sites including The Baldwin Project, which has an attractive easy-to-read layout of the book.
You can also download an audio book version or listen to Poems Every Child Should Know online at Librivox
What kind of poetry collection could you put together using this book?