Celebrate Poetry at Work Day

Michael Barrett  //  Jan 9, 2018

Celebrate Poetry at Work Day

Today is National Poetry at Work Day. This special day encourages you to take a break from your daily routine and craft some poetic verse.

Similar to last year's celebration, I reached out to the staff at The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers on their favorite poems. They are experts in the field of iconic writers, as well as who is today's emerging poets. Check out their top picks below and get poetic!

If you need further inspiration, check out a recent NPR interview with Trace DePass - a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Medal Portfolio recipient - who talks about his role as this year's editor of the Best in Teen Writing of 2017. Learn about what teens are talking about this year through the power of the arts.

Alexis Almeida: My favorite poem is “The Leader” by Roger McGough. It is a great children’s poem that declares the happiness of achieving leadership status, but then quickly asks the most common question: "Now what?" A question we can ask ourselves at any age and more than once in our lifetime. 

Meg Callery: “Design” by Billy Collins is my favorite poem. The poem has a duality of being “off the cuff”, but also insightful and considered. I appreciate the circular nature of this poem about circles. It begins with an ordinary gesture, moves into references to the formal, historical, and personal circle forms, and then closes with another ordinary gesture.

Helen Canales: “Monsters I’ve Met” by Shel Silverstein first stole my heart as a monster-loving third grader. However, as time’s gone by it has served as an excellent reminder to my monster-loving adult self to not think I know anyone based on hearsay from others.

Diomara Delvalle: My favorite poem is “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Invictus is a poem that’s basically letting the human know that they are the controllers of their fate. Your mindset dictates your outcome/experience.

Hannah Jones: I don’t have “a” favorite poem, but one that’s come back again and again to me lately is “What Kind of Times Are These” by Adrienne Rich. It’s dated to 1995, but it’s powerful now - and will be powerful again - and will always be resonant during days when so much work needs to be done. It calls to urgency—politically, economically, emotionally, because “this is not somewhere else but here,/our country moving closer to its own truth and dread[.]”

Lawson Marlowe: “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. It uses nonsense to describe a world so vibrantly so that each reader pictures something intense and real, but completely different than what someone else might imagine. There is epic adventure, world creation, and characterization that rivals some novels in only 28 short lines.