ADULT POETRY VERSUS CHILDRENS POETRY
Yet where did that love of poetry go for so many people?
It is a shame that poetry has such a bad rap, (no pun intended) as poetry weaves through our entire lives, even if we don’t know it. You hear it in the lyrics of the music. It is in our greeting cards on coffee mugs, in commercials, you name it and you will find poetry. Yet many parents shy away from either reading it to their children or picking it up and reading it to themselves.
If I am reading or writing poetry aimed at children, I prefer it speaks to a child in their language and doesn't talk down to them. I like it to help me remember those feelings I had as a child thus connecting me both with the child within and with children in general. The same goes with adult poetry I want to feel something to see a picture and experience the mind and emotion of the author.
As I see it the main difference between the children’s and adults’ poetry is children think more literally. They feel the same emotions but don’t always understand where they are coming from. They are still learning and their vocabulary is growing. They see the world with more innocence and wonder. An adult on the other hand has seen more of life which usually means they will have a larger vocabulary and understand their emotions more or the subtle nuances and complexity of a poem.
If you read the work of a contemporary poet like Maya Angelou, who is universally acclaimed one of the finest poets of our generation she tells a story in her poetry. It is full of beauty, sorrow, imagination, and hope. One of my favorites is her Phenomenal Woman you can find the link to the rest of the poem below as well as a youtube video of the reading.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNj9cpvj-pU Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxg7OFFtWQE&feature=related Edgar Allan Poe, A Dream Within A Dream.
A Dream Within A Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
Many articles have been written on how rhyming helps children learn and why the classics are a great way to both entertain and teach children. You can read it in many articles, one of them is classic poems for kids. http://www.squidoo.com/classic-poems-for-kids It shows the simplicity that inspires children’s poetry.
At The Zoo .
First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys-mercy, how unpleasantly they-smelt!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MouuBLfHBBc Robert Louis Stevenson, The Land of Counterpane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0K-umvbKgY The Cow by Robert Louis Stevenson
The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart….
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bedclothes, through the hills….
If you read either children’s or adults poetry I believe you will agree the main difference between poetry written for a child and that for an adult is in the sophistication of the poem and the type of story it tells. At least this is true of most of the classic poets.