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How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers

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Focusing on popular verse from the nineteenth century through today, this anthology invites young readers to sample a taste of irresistible poems that will nourish their minds and spirits. Selected for both popularity and literary quality, seventy charming poems cover a wide range of subjects: poetry, books, words, and imagination; the beauty of the natural world; travel, Focusing on popular verse from the nineteenth century through today, this anthology invites young readers to sample a taste of irresistible poems that will nourish their minds and spirits. Selected for both popularity and literary quality, seventy charming poems cover a wide range of subjects: poetry, books, words, and imagination; the beauty of the natural world; travel, adventure, sports, and play; love, friendship, sadness, hope, and other emotions. Included are: "Prickled Pickles Don't Smile," Nikki Giovanni "W. D., Don't Fear that Animal," W. D. Snodgrass "A Jelly-Fish," Marianne Moore "The Porcupine," Ogden Nash "Annabel Lee," Edgar Allan Poe "The Falling Star," Sara Teasdale "Sick," Shel Silverstein "Casey at the Bat," Ernest Lawrence Thayer "With Kitty, Age Seven, At the Beach," William Stafford "Hope is the Thing with Feathers," Emily Dickinson . . . . and sixty other notable works. Chosen by the American Poetry & Literacy Project and the Academy of American Poets, two of the nation's most respected nonprofit poetry organizations, these much-loved and highly readable poems promise young readers and poetry lovers of all ages hours of reading pleasure.


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Focusing on popular verse from the nineteenth century through today, this anthology invites young readers to sample a taste of irresistible poems that will nourish their minds and spirits. Selected for both popularity and literary quality, seventy charming poems cover a wide range of subjects: poetry, books, words, and imagination; the beauty of the natural world; travel, Focusing on popular verse from the nineteenth century through today, this anthology invites young readers to sample a taste of irresistible poems that will nourish their minds and spirits. Selected for both popularity and literary quality, seventy charming poems cover a wide range of subjects: poetry, books, words, and imagination; the beauty of the natural world; travel, adventure, sports, and play; love, friendship, sadness, hope, and other emotions. Included are: "Prickled Pickles Don't Smile," Nikki Giovanni "W. D., Don't Fear that Animal," W. D. Snodgrass "A Jelly-Fish," Marianne Moore "The Porcupine," Ogden Nash "Annabel Lee," Edgar Allan Poe "The Falling Star," Sara Teasdale "Sick," Shel Silverstein "Casey at the Bat," Ernest Lawrence Thayer "With Kitty, Age Seven, At the Beach," William Stafford "Hope is the Thing with Feathers," Emily Dickinson . . . . and sixty other notable works. Chosen by the American Poetry & Literacy Project and the Academy of American Poets, two of the nation's most respected nonprofit poetry organizations, these much-loved and highly readable poems promise young readers and poetry lovers of all ages hours of reading pleasure.

30 review for How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    I picked this up as a bit of inspiration and guidance for what poems to teach my 9th-grades for our poetry unit. There are some real gems here, even some poems that were new to me from some of my favorites poets. My favorite thing about this collection was that the poems were approachable for my novice poetry readers :) My only wish is that the collection was longer so that I would have even more to share with my students.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    My wife recommended this book to me and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed this collection as it combined classic poems and modern pieces. I always enjoy Gary Soto and Langston Hughes’s works. I’m glad their voices were included in this collection. I’m looking forward to exploring these poems over the months ahead and years to come.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol Brannock

    This is an anthology of poems. Reading poetry is a very personal experience. Some the reader will like and identify with. Others the reader will not. Some of my favorite poets have submissions in this book like William Carlos Williams, "This is Just to Say." It is a simple poem, but the layers of meaning are wonderful. Another poem which is a classic is "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" by William Wordsworth. It is about the cycle of life stated very simply. It touches my heart, especially becau This is an anthology of poems. Reading poetry is a very personal experience. Some the reader will like and identify with. Others the reader will not. Some of my favorite poets have submissions in this book like William Carlos Williams, "This is Just to Say." It is a simple poem, but the layers of meaning are wonderful. Another poem which is a classic is "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" by William Wordsworth. It is about the cycle of life stated very simply. It touches my heart, especially because I have a son. This is a book of selected poems; most are classics and I would suggest for grades 8-12. This book would be great as a read aloud, or for memorization. I would use it to promote students understanding of poetry terms; and then assign the students through research and use of technology tools to create their own anthology of poetry. I would assign illustrations either organic or by use of Canva and other tools I have learned this semester.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    A lovely anthology of poetry accessible to all ages. This is not your typical book of "kids' poems" watered down in any way; it is a rich and vibrant collection that mixes beauty, whimsy, sorrow, and wisdom, with classics from Shel Silverstein to Edgar Allen Poe, from Ogden Nash to an anonymous Inuit writer, from Robert Frost to Lucille Clifton. A particularly useful source for educators, but a must-read for anyone who appreciates the magic in words. My only complaint is what it leaves out; it s A lovely anthology of poetry accessible to all ages. This is not your typical book of "kids' poems" watered down in any way; it is a rich and vibrant collection that mixes beauty, whimsy, sorrow, and wisdom, with classics from Shel Silverstein to Edgar Allen Poe, from Ogden Nash to an anonymous Inuit writer, from Robert Frost to Lucille Clifton. A particularly useful source for educators, but a must-read for anyone who appreciates the magic in words. My only complaint is what it leaves out; it should be ten times as long! Though perhaps this makes it more accessible to the casual bookshop browser.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Lovejoy

    While reading the book this time, I memorized quite a number of the poems and I also explored for more information about different poets and/or the topic of his/her poem. This led me to all kinds of new, fun, and intriguing experiences that have enriched me. September 20, 2020: This book was a reward to myself for completing a goal I had to memorize 52 poems. What a fun treasure this is---filled will a number of poems I already love as well as finding some new ones to love.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Harris

    This anthology of poems has a wide range of poems included and is a taste of poetry for children. It would be a great mentor text for 5th-9th grade. This book is divided into sections and grouped into categories like love, friendship, travel,magic words, and many other sections. I would use this as a mentor texts to show all the different types and styles that poetry can be to my students.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Devon Flaherty

    Another month, another book that I am reviewing because I taught it to my ninth grade(ish) co-op students. I can’t remember how I found this poetry anthology last summer, but I am sure glad that I did. Rather than have to pull poems from the whole world of poetry or require the students to purchase a daunting book (like some of my faves: Immortal Poems of the English Language, Best Remembered Poems, and Sound and Sense) or one that was too expensive and too expansive (like a Norton anthology), I Another month, another book that I am reviewing because I taught it to my ninth grade(ish) co-op students. I can’t remember how I found this poetry anthology last summer, but I am sure glad that I did. Rather than have to pull poems from the whole world of poetry or require the students to purchase a daunting book (like some of my faves: Immortal Poems of the English Language, Best Remembered Poems, and Sound and Sense) or one that was too expensive and too expansive (like a Norton anthology), I just held this little gem up in front of them and told them to get a copy. It’s a wonder how it worked for them—it’s small, the poems are generally short, and almost all the poems are really approachable (and even a couple of the classics are on the more-approachable end of the spectrum). When I said “poetry,” my class was daunted, shaking in their boots and bored already with the irrelevance. By the end of their first reading, they were coming around a bit. It is possible that they even enjoyed some of the poems. Certainly, they didn’t hate the unit. So this book is a great one for middle schoolers or early highschoolers. Even adults who are intimidated by poetry. However (and maybe this is a positive for some applications), it does not have any “teachings.” None at all. No notes. No biographies. No introductions or information on poetry in general. I added all the teachings, the vocab, and the occasional YouTube video about an aspect of poetry. The individual poems can be looked up online and for most there is an abundance of info and even teaching helps. As for poetry in general, you’ll just have to look elsewhere if you are teaching or if you are curious. In a way, this adds to the approachableness of the book. Just, as a teacher, it would have been nice to have some as-approachable content, too. This book is also great for reading. Filled with authors and poems that just about anyone will recognize covering the past couple centuries at a breakneck speed (though not chronological), it’s a pleasant read. Especially if you don’t have much (or any) poetry in your collection, this is a wonderful volume to have on the shelf, or, even better, by the guest bed/guest toilet. Obviously, it can be taken in small bits, but if you want a brief walk through the poem, this is a jubilant frolic. Sure, there are plenty of omissions, but this isn’t a Norton anthology and it’s not supposed to be. I’m sure my students appreciated that and so did their mothers’ pocketbooks. ***REVIEW WRITTEN FOR THE STARVING ARTIST BLOG***

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tylerclem

    This book is not a storybook, its all about the poem. If you interesting with a reading poem or even writing poem, I think this book will fit you. To be honest I like reading the poem more than reading a normal book. Because I think the poem has a really strong message from the person who writes the poem to the people who read the poem. Because I'm learning how to write the poem, this book really helping me to write a poem. I see many styles with different ideas. This book will give you many kin This book is not a storybook, its all about the poem. If you interesting with a reading poem or even writing poem, I think this book will fit you. To be honest I like reading the poem more than reading a normal book. Because I think the poem has a really strong message from the person who writes the poem to the people who read the poem. Because I'm learning how to write the poem, this book really helping me to write a poem. I see many styles with different ideas. This book will give you many kinds of an idea for writing a poem. And also writing a poem will develop your writing skill like word choice and how you describe. It's a very interesting book to read, and also I really like the title of the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    William Chan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Short, but powerful. Poems are an incredible way of expressing ones' feelings, emotions, and surroundings. They allow us to quickly grasp the writers' intentions. The things you observe; you can show them inside a poem. Imagine enjoying your time at the beaches of Hawaii, sunbathing in the sun and listening to swooshes of the ocean. Try making a poem with your head with your surroundings. I personally have tried this once, thinking about the winter wasteland I was in, the pain I felt hiking up a Short, but powerful. Poems are an incredible way of expressing ones' feelings, emotions, and surroundings. They allow us to quickly grasp the writers' intentions. The things you observe; you can show them inside a poem. Imagine enjoying your time at the beaches of Hawaii, sunbathing in the sun and listening to swooshes of the ocean. Try making a poem with your head with your surroundings. I personally have tried this once, thinking about the winter wasteland I was in, the pain I felt hiking up a mountain. These short writings, allows us to imagine, what he (or she), was doing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    stormhawk

    Poetry reading with my nephew to fulfill the poetry requirement in his 40 books by the end of the school year challenge. This was a nice, broad survey of poetry, included serious, whimsical, and romantic poems, many of which were good openings for discussions of poetic imagery. The poems come from a variety of times and cultures, and celebrate playing with words.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    I like this collection but find the quality, the literary merit, uneven. Also, the audience ranges from very young children to teens, given the broad range of poems. I'm surprised by some omissions, such as "How to Eat a Poem," and the inclusion of others, such as "Casey at the Bat." I like this collection but find the quality, the literary merit, uneven. Also, the audience ranges from very young children to teens, given the broad range of poems. I'm surprised by some omissions, such as "How to Eat a Poem," and the inclusion of others, such as "Casey at the Bat."

  12. 5 out of 5

    littlebug_booklover

    A really short and memorable collection of fun poems by people all over literature and poetry. I love the mix of authors and the way they divided the sections worked great. It was fast to read and definitely something to come back to when I need a laugh.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    A nice accessible assortment of verse ranging from classic to humorous. A delightful way to pass an hour or two. And I’m always happy to come across e.e.cumming’s “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” one of my very favorites.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    A wonderful selection. Beautiful and stirring, the poems offered here come alive on the page. I read with a smile on my face.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Fuhrman

    A good introduction to serious poetry. The selections are well chosen for their variety of styles, subjects, and moods.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Mosley

    Great read, of so many wonderful poets. The Love of poetry. I enjoyed this book. If your into poetry -you will like this one...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    Solid collection of poems. I refer to this book very often for our weekly poetry study in my classroom.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Good collection of poems. Nice collection of poems for students and/or beginners to poetry. There are a wide variety of types, styles, and themes to explore.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

    Great introduction to poetry if anyone wants an easy start :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Boggs

    Great little anthology. I'm going to buy a copy and read it over and over! Lots of old and newer great ones. Great little anthology. I'm going to buy a copy and read it over and over! Lots of old and newer great ones.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily Nelson

    My aunt gave me this book when I was young - it has some good poems. Not great, honestly probably 3 stars, but I am loyal to my aunt and can't give it less than 4. My aunt gave me this book when I was young - it has some good poems. Not great, honestly probably 3 stars, but I am loyal to my aunt and can't give it less than 4.

  22. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    This slim volume of poetry is intended for kids, but is bound to be satisfying for adults as well. The over sixty poems included here range from serious works by Emily Dickinson to the hilarious verse of Shel Silverstein, so ever reader should find something to like. My favorites of this book include "Six Words" by Lloyd Schwartz, "This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, "Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams" by Kenneth Koch, "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop, "When I Heard the L This slim volume of poetry is intended for kids, but is bound to be satisfying for adults as well. The over sixty poems included here range from serious works by Emily Dickinson to the hilarious verse of Shel Silverstein, so ever reader should find something to like. My favorites of this book include "Six Words" by Lloyd Schwartz, "This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, "Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams" by Kenneth Koch, "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman, "Harlem Night Song" by Langston Hughes, and "homage to my hips" by Lucille Clifton. There are plenty of other good poems here, so I'll probably like find others to love as I read them again. There's an index at the end too, and I'm a sucker for the index. (I already used it then writing this review to find out how many poems by Emily Dickinson are in this book. The answer is two.) This collection is a keeper!

  23. 5 out of 5

    L- Lisa

    How to Eat a Poem is an anthology of poems, edited by The American Poetry and Literacy Project and The Academy of American Poets. It manages to offer a wide selection of poems to be “tasted” as an introduction to newer and older works. The book is divided into categories to include; Magic words, Beauty in the world, travel/adventure and love and friendship. The selection includes something for everyone. As the foreword indicates, like eating, reading a poem is a personal experience. Nobody says How to Eat a Poem is an anthology of poems, edited by The American Poetry and Literacy Project and The Academy of American Poets. It manages to offer a wide selection of poems to be “tasted” as an introduction to newer and older works. The book is divided into categories to include; Magic words, Beauty in the world, travel/adventure and love and friendship. The selection includes something for everyone. As the foreword indicates, like eating, reading a poem is a personal experience. Nobody says you should have to like it right away. This collection would be a good addition for 5th grade through high school.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Weakley

    How do you eat a poem? You devour it nearly whole, savoring the juice from each verse, every stanza, and line as they drip down your cheeks and onto your chin. These seventy poems give young readers a sense of the broad universe held within this genre of literature.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily Ridgley

    If I teach creative writing again, I think this would be a good text for a class set. The poems are readable and engaging for teens.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    A fun introductory book to poetry. I include it with kids lit but it works for everyone. Light general interest stuff.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eva

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Craig Pike

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