Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mouse's Corner: Poetry in Childhood, A Guest Post by Poet Laura Foley

If you have ever read a young children's book, you may be familiar with the lyrical style many are written in. There is often a playful cadence and quite a bit of rhyming.  And when you think about it, songs are like this as well. Both help with language development in a very fun way. Mouse loves to read and sing (if you ever come for a visit, you might think you live in a musical the way she and I sing about every day life). Poetry is all around us in one form or another. It is something I hope to explore further with my daughter as she grows older. 

I am interested in others' experiences with poetry in their childhood as well, and so I asked Laura Foley, author of Joy Street, to share some of her childhood experiences with poetry. Please welcome Laura to Musings of a Bookish Kitty:


The first poem I remember loving was Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill. I savored the pastoral images from Thomas’ childhood in Wales (When I was young and easy, under the apple boughs), and the haunting ending, the evocation of old age and death (…though I sang in my chains like the sea). This was in fifth or sixth grade, in New York City. I remember our teacher, Mrs. Taliaferro, explaining how an image can mean more than the literal. This fairly brief poem was Thomas’ autobiography, from childhood to old age, a tale told in images.


I was also drawn to T.S. Eliot’s New Hampshire. In this one, I began to understand how big concepts could be expressed in small details. The lines Golden head, crimson head/Between the green tip and the root./Black wing, brown wing, hover over… stay with me to this day. It was a poem of children playing beneath an apple tree, but it was more than a simple story. Lilting and elegant, it suggested a world of ideas and sensations just beyond grasp.


Later, when I had my first child (by then I was living in New Hampshire!), I would recite from memory T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock (Let us go now, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky…). I loved the lyrical sounds of the words, the lilting cadence that felt comforting to me and, I hope, to my baby in the crib.



Thank you, Laura! Be sure and visit tomorrow to read my review of Joy Street.




To learn more about Laura Foley, and her book, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Joy Street on the TLC Book Tours route!




Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. 


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

14 comments:

  1. Great post! I don't think I've ever enjoyed poetry, though I have a few favorite poems, mainly because I always feel I am too dense for it. But I respect people who love it because I wish I was like them - able to read poetry and enjoy it, without worrying I missed the gist of it.

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    1. Athira - I feel the same way when I read poetry. It's a bit intimidating and I worry I will miss the meaning. It's why I don't read it often. You'll find yourself reading lots of "poetry" to your baby when he/she comes from those board and young children's books. ;-)

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  2. Two of my favorite poets! That is enough to convince me to try Joy Street! I look forward to your review tomorrow, Wendy, and enjoyed Ms. Foley's guest post.

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    1. Jenclair - I haven't read too much T.S. Eliot, I admit. Just a poem here and there. I do like his poetry though.

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  3. Lovely post! I've never been a huge poetry fan though I did discover Edna St. Vincent Millay in high school and devoured everything she'd ever written. I love the diea of poetry for children as well. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Katherine - I love Edna St. Vincent Millay! I started writing poetry in high school, and think that's when I first really started paying attention to it.

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  4. This was a great guest post, and I love that you asked her about it.

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    1. Serena - Thank you! I'm glad Laura had the time to answer my question!

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  5. I think unfortunately my first brush with poetry wasn't very encouraging. In school it seemed my English teacher was only interested in us measuring poetry and that wasn't a lot of fun. Luckily I came back to poetry after my college years after going to poetry slams. Now I love discovering new poems/poets.

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    1. Iliana - That does take the fun out it. :-( I only recently discovered poetry slams--heard my first performance at the L.A. Times Festival of Books this past year--it was so awesome. How can anyone not like poetry after experiencing it that way? Okay, maybe some people, But it really was awesome.

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  6. Always love to read about how authors have been influenced!

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  7. I love the thought of you and your little one singing around the house. :) I sing to my cat - kind of the same thing, right?

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    1. Shaina - It is very similar! Our cats enjoy being sung too. :-)

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