Monday, April 29, 2013

Poetry Comes to Life with Poetry Alive!

We've come to the end of our celebration of National Poetry Month and hope you have enjoyed our focus on all aspects of poetry. Today, we look at an organization that "returns to the bardic tradition of long ago..."

There’s nothing quite like seeing a talented performer breathe life into a wonderful piece of literature. Poetry Alive!, a poetry performance group, gives schools the opportunity to bring that experience to their students. The organization, which was founded nearly thirty years ago, sends two-person teams of performers around the country and the world to perform poems for children and teenagers. There are specific programs tailored to students in elementary, middle, and high school, which include poems to suit the different cognitive skills and tastes of each age group. Poetry Alive! makes kids think, but it also makes them laugh, gasp, chime in, and move around. Audience participation is a hallmark of the program, and students often have the opportunity to call out parts of the poems or take the stage to act out poems alongside the performers. The energy and passion Poetry Alive! lends to the genre is electric, and students leave performances nearly crackling with enthusiasm.

Schools must book Poetry Alive! to give students a chance to see the performances; information can be found on various links from their home page. Visitors can also access videos of poem performances and learn more general information about the organization.

Even students who have never gotten to see Poetry Alive! in person can submit their original poetry for consideration in the regular Poem of the Month contest. And Poetry Alive!’s Poetry Research Page  contains a wealth of kid-friendly information on poets and poems. Also worth a visit is the Poetry For Fun page, which will direct youngsters to fun destinations on the web where they can write magnetic poetry online, access poet Kenn Nesbitt’s lessons on writing funny poems, and more.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair Has Something for Everyone

Spring-like temperatures have finally come to New York City and the forecast for this weekend is for sunny weather. To add to the good news, the free Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair is back, and its line up this year is better than ever!

Go to Greenwich Street between Chambers and Hubert this Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. to sample all the festival has to offer. Fans of performance art can watch a variety of family friendly live entertainment throughout the day, and movie buffs can take advantage of some interactive film making demonstrations and exhibits. Be sure to check out free screenings, like a sneak peek at Smurfs 2 and animated shorts from StoryCorps. Athletes in the family will love exploring the ESPN Sports Day options, where they can try a variety of sports activities and games (anyone for myachi? How about fencing?), enter contests, and learn new skills. Fuel the fun with food from various local restaurants, and learn how to recreate some of that culinary magic in your own kitchen through demonstrations by some of the top chefs in the city. And you can head home in style after browsing trendy mer
chandise from area boutiques.

The Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair has something to delight everyone in the family. Visit their website  for a schedule and more detailed information about events and attractions. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Diamante

For people who are intimidated by writing poetry, the diamante poem can be a great format to try first. The diamante is a relatively new form – it was invented in 1969 by poet Iris McClellan Tiedt – that follows a very precise formula. It’s easy to follow, but a working knowledge of parts of speech is required.

Steven Depolo/Flickr

A diamante is seven lines long and shaped like a diamond. In fact, “diamante” means “diamond” in Italian! Each line is made up of words from a particular part of speech:

Adjective, Adjective,
Verb, Verb, Verb,
Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Verb, Verb, Verb,
Adjective, Adjective,

And that’s it! When writing a diamante, though, there’s one more choice to make. Some diamantes are called synonym diamantes; this means that the first noun and the second noun are different words for the same thing. For example, here’s a synonym diamante we wrote about brothers and sisters:

Obnoxious, Helpful
Sharing, Arguing, Laughing
Brother, Sister, Enemy, Companion
Teasing, Tickling, Tattling
Irritating, Loveable

Siblings are sort of like friends (at least sometimes…), so that’s why this is considered a synonym diamante. On the other hand, some diamantes start and end with words that have different meanings or associations. As you can probably guess, these are known as antonym diamantes. Here’s an example:

Refreshing, Calm
Sparkling, Flashing, Lapping
Lily pads, Ripples, Seashells, Waves
Roaring, Crashing, Rolling
Salty, Endless

Diamantes are great for kids. Let them pick their own topics, or challenge them to tie their poems into something they’re learning by assigning them to start and finish with words like “Tom” and “Huck,” “element” and “compound,” “cell” and “virus,” “democracy” and “monarchy,” etc. This is a wonderful poetic form – a true gem! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Acrostic

Acrostic poems are great fun for children. Most people are familiar with an incarnation of the acrostic poem in which a name or word is written vertically and then a series of descriptive words or phrases is written based on each letter. Many young children use their name for this type of poem, for example:

D – aring
A – thletic
V – ery good at the guitar
I – nto movies
D – og lover

But the complete definition of the acrostic form reveals much more versatility and potential for fun. The first syllable or word of each line can also be used to spell out a message. Acrostics appear throughout history. Many psalms in the Hebrew Bible are acrostics, and Austrian poet Rudolf von Ems (1200-1254) began each of his great works with an acrostic of his own name. Even the Dutch national anthem is an acrostic! The first letter of each word in the first fifteen lines of the song spell out “Willem Van Nassov,” a Dutch military leader who later became Prince of Orange. Edgar Allan Poe took a step away from his usual macabre verse to write the romantic “An Acrostic”:

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L. E. L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breathe it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His folly — pride — and passion — for he died.

Acrostics do not have to be artistic; they can be great memory aids as well. Many students learn the order of the four compass points by memorizing the phrase:


Kids usually enjoy writing acrostics starting with their own names. After that, challenge them to write an acrostic using another member of the family’s name. Or, perhaps, an acrostic could be used to convey a secret message!

Clean, fresh, and full of promise,
Your favorite season is in full swing: Spring! With
Room for new growth and golden dreams,
Now that winter’s chill is a mere memory.

Photo credits: "Keep Calm" via; room by Rubbermaid Products/Flickr.

Friday, April 19, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Clerihew

The Yellin Center Blog continues our celebration of National Poetry Month with a profile of the poetic form called the clerihew.

The history of the clerihew is almost as much fun as the poems themselves. When he was sixteen years old, Edmund Clerihew Bentley was sitting in science class at St. Paul’s School in London when a funny poem about English chemist Humphry Davy popped into his head. He wrote it down and shared it with classmates, and the form was such a hit that he and his friends wrote more and more of the four-line poems – enough to fill a notebook! Bentley went on to publish three books filled with his own poems, which came to be known as clerihews.

The clerihew follows several simple guidelines:

  • it is traditionally about a person
  • it is four lines long 
  • the first line must end with the name of the person the poem is about 
  • the first and second lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other
  • it is funny! 

Here is an example of one of Bentley’s early clerihews:

The people of Spain think Cervantes
Equal to half-a-dozen Dantes;
An opinion resented most bitterly
By the people of Italy.

Of course, the great thing about being an artist is that sometimes you get to break the rules. Here’s another example by Bentley, which is not about a person but meets the other requirements:

The art of Biography
Is different from Geography.
Geography is about maps,
But Biography is about chaps.

Clerihews can be great fun to write with children. Try assigning a group of kids the same person and letting them compare their work, or let them choose whomever they want. Wouldn’t it be fun to leave the person’s name out of the poem and play a guessing game? The sky’s the limit with this light, enjoyable poetic form! To get your poetic juices flowing, here’s one we wrote in celebration of spring:

Will Punxsutawney Phil 
See his shadow stretch over the hill? 
He’s a pretty famous rodent dude 
Who heralds spring with attitude. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tips for Helping Children Cope with Tragedy

Beth traveled to Boston to watch a friend run the marathon. Luckily, she left the finish area about an hour before the explosions, and she and her friends are safe and unharmed. 

Lately, Americans have played witness to a particularly ugly streak of senseless violence. A country that is still haunted by the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, was hit on Monday with a horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon that caused the deaths of three spectators and grievous injuries to nearly 200 others. These events leave adults confused and frightened, but parents and teachers have the additional burden of discussing tragedies with the children in their lives. We've compiled a list of useful resources and some of the most common — and sensible — tips for talking to kids of all ages when the unthinkable happens.

In our research, we came across the following themes and tips repeatedly:

Act as a filter for your kids, no matter how old they are.

Turn off the news and insist that the family take a media break once you have a sense that terrible information has overwhelmed the household. No one can be unaffected by a bombardment of horrific facts.

Talk to kids about what happened, and be honest.

Consult the National Associate of School Psychologists’s helpful guide for information about developmentally appropriate explanations. Be aware that children’s understanding of language may not match yours. A wonderful article on the PBS website reminds adults that “far away” may mean Afghanistan to you but the other side of town to a young child. Be specific. Use resources like maps to make things concrete for kids, if that will help them find peace. Reassure kids that they are safe. Explain the safety measures taken by their school (guest badges for visitors, teacher training, etc.) and by your family to keep them out of harm’s way.

Be sure that it’s a two-way discussion.

Give kids the chance to voice their concerns and ask questions. Remember to clarify questions before answering them to get a sense of what the child really wants to know and what kind of understanding must be established. Ask them to tell you what they've heard.

We all feel powerless in the wake of tragedies.

Help kids combat this with three different plans of action:

  1. Make sure they know both school and family emergency plans.  
  2. If children seem particularly anxious, practice techniques for self-soothing such as repeating a calming mantra (“I’m safe, nothing will happen to me.”) or doing deep breathing exercises. 
  3. Help empower kids by making them part of a positive outcome. Collecting donations for tragedy victims can be a very productive way to work through tough feelings. Monetary donations can be raised through bake sales or collections, but don’t forget that resources are often needed, too.

Maintain a normal routine.

Going about business as usual is enormously comforting to children. Be sure to be more available than usual to your kids, however. Read a book with them during the day, take a special trip to the library, ask your kids to help prepare dinner, or join in their play. Be sure to model calm and assurance for your kids – they’ll need you to show them how to feel and behave.

Be extra-sensitive to children’s behaviors.

Watch for difficulty sleeping or nightmares, changes in eating habits, difficulty separating from parents, etc. Changes may be an indication that your child needs extra support. At the same time, remember that some kids will need less help than others. A child who seems to be coping well may begin to feel panicked if her parents are too comforting when she doesn't need it.

The tips above were compiled from the following resources:

We also found the following resources, which may be of further use to educators and parents:

  • Teachers of middle and high schools may be interested in this lesson plan, available through The New York Times, which helps kids articulate their feelings about school violence and take actions which may help them feel safer
  • Scholastic offers some cogent tips for teachers to keep in mind in the wake of a horrible event
  • PBS provides these “age-by-age insights” to help adults understand how to discuss tragedy with children in a developmentally appropriate way
  • New York Times article published in the days following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.offers excellent insights from prominent, wise child psychiatrists

Finally, some words of hope: Fred Rogers, beloved host of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” This may be one of the best messages we can share with our children, and each other.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Early Exposure to More Words Leads to Academic Success

Head Start, the iconic preschool program begun in 1965, aims to erase the achievement gap between affluent children and poor children by providing preschool services to vulnerable populations. But erasing this gap has proven to be difficult.

A recent article in The New York Times looks at an exciting program in Rhode Island called Providence Talks, which builds on research published in 1995 by the late Drs. Betty Hart and Todd R. Risely, which suggested that children from wealthier families tended to outpace their lower-income counterparts even before preschool began. Providence recently won the $5 million Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge for its proposal to build on Hart and Risely's findings to use a network of nurses, mentors, therapists, and social workers to teach pregnant women and families with new babies the importance of exposing their youngsters to lots of words.

Hart and Risely found that the critical difference between children from higher and lower income groups was how much parents talk to their children from birth to the age of three. In a study designed to investigate how parents at different income levels talked to their babies, they stumbled upon the realization that what really mattered was how much parents talked. Kids who did better in school by the age of nine had parents and caregivers who talked to them a great deal. Further, the amount of talk seemed to be more important than the type of talk.

Hart and Risely found that the number of words children heard seemed to vary a great deal by income level. Children whose families received welfare heard about 600 words an hour, compared to 1,200 words for babies in working-class families and 2,100 for babies in professional families. (Talk heard on television didn't count; in fact, television exposure appeared to be detrimental to students’ IQ and school performance.) According to Hart and Riseley’s results, at those rates a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words by the time he or she turned three. Their findings indicated that increased exposure to words was associated not only with stronger vocabulary, but also with higher IQ and school performance. Provocatively, Hart and Risely argued that the correlation between word exposure and academic success was so close that if all children were exposed to the same number of words during the first three years of life the income gap would disappear entirely.

A summary of Hart and Risely's research findings entitled The Early Catastrophe includes a number of compelling charts.

This issue isn't new; we wrote about the importance of talking to your children just over two years ago, noting how parents and caregivers engaged with their cell phones are missing opportunities to speak to their child. Sometimes the research findings we report are difficult to replicate at home. Hart and Risely's findings are easy to apply. Talk to your child - early and often.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baseball Math Challenge

Ah, baseball season! Nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut grass, the crack of a bat against a ball, and the taste of stadium popcorn. And don’t forget the math!

Dr. Rebecca Mannis, learning specialist and founder of the Ivy Prep Learning Center had the idea last year to take advantage of kids’ love for baseball to help them with an area that many kids dread: math. Mannis’s instructional model is very near and dear to our hearts here at The Yellin Center: she links her background in neuropsychology with remediation and enrichment, effectively helping both struggling kids who need remediation and academically-talented kids who need supplementation. Mannis says that she often works with kids who demonstrate great math thinking skills but have difficulty executing math problems. For example, a child may be great at reasoning through a problem, but her weak knowledge of math facts can throw a wrench into the works when it comes to actually solving the problem.

Enter the Baseball Math Challenge, a daily email for students ages 7-12 containing a baseball-related math problem. This is the program’s second year. Mannis hopes that the subject matter will be motivating for kids, and that the extra practice will help bolster math skills in students whose intelligence is not always recognized. In addition, the real-life scenarios presented by the problems can serve as a model to parents and teachers; they demonstrate a way to engage gifted youngsters in the kind of math they find around them all the time. Who knew a trip to the old ball game could be so enriching?

As an extra incentive, Mannis notes that the first 75 kids to answer 15 math challenge questions correctly will receive gift cards to Modell’s Sporting Goods. Even if they’re not some of the first to get to 15 correct answers, participants will also be entered into a raffle to win baseball tickets, free time in the batting cages, and more.

Want to step up to the plate? Check out a sample question and instructions about how to send an email and ask to be added to the "MVP Minds" list. You will receive a daily email with a baseball math problem and instructions for how to submit answers. The Challenge began this week, and Mannis says she plans to continue the daily emails until the end of the academic year.

Photo: MissChatter

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creative Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

There are lots of fun, out-of-the-box ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. Below are a few of our favorites.

Put a Poem in Your Pocket – Or on Your Feed suggests participating in Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 18; visit their page for more details and to access links to poems you can carry with you throughout the day. But rather than simply sharing your pocket poem with co-workers, family, and friends as the site suggests, why not put a modern twist on this fun idea? Many websites, including, The Poetry Foundation, Poem Hunter, Old Poetry ( and more will allow you to share poems with the click of an icon. Post your favorite poems to Facebook or share them via Twitter or email.

Take a Poet to Lunch

Of course, if you know any poets, buying them lunch would be a great way to celebrate poetry month. But for those of us without connections, a fun alternative is to tuck a poem into someone’s lunchbox for them to find when they sit down to eat that afternoon. Or pack yourself a favorite poem, or a whole book of them, to nourish your body and your soul come lunchtime. For a child, why not use Magnetic Poetry as an inspiration and include a bag of poetic words next to the bag of apple slices? Your child and his/her friends can create their own poems while they eat!

Enjoy Poetry-Inspired Media

The Outsiders was inspired, in part, by Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay. What would Dead Poets Society be without “O Captain, my Captain”? Plenty of books and movies center around poetry, and there are also a number of wonderful movies about the lives of famous poets. hosts a long list of great films to enjoy. Or, challenge your family to think of as many books as they can which are focused on poetry. One of our recent favorites is Matched by Ally Condie, which centers around themes in Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle.

Read Poetry – as a Novel

There are many wonderful novels available for young people that are written in verse. These can be great options for unsteady readers because verse looks much less intimidating than dense paragraphs on a page. Try titles like Love that Dog by Sharon Creech (also, look for Hate that Cat), What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Somes, Out of the Dust and Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse, The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle, Crashboomlove by Juan Felipe Herrera, and The First Part Last by Angela Johnson.

Trade Your Bedtime Story for a Poetry Reading

Instead of reading a traditional picture book to your children as you tuck them in, opt for fun, child-friendly poems like those of Jack Prelutzky or Shel Silverstein, or reach for classics like A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne, or Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes by Beatrix Potter. Rhyming books like Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney and just about any of Dr. Seuss’s offerings are also good choices.

Photo: CC by Jemimus

Monday, April 8, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Villanelle

The villanelle is a lovely, rhythmic form that takes quite a bit of skill to work with. Still, it might be a fun challenge for poetically-inclined individual students or groups of students who can put their heads together.

A villanelle consists of nineteen lines broken up into five tercets (three-line stanza) and a final quatrain (four-line stanza). Villanelles also rhyme according to a specific pattern: the first and third lines of each tercet rhyme, and in the quatrain the first, third, and fourth lines rhyme.  The trait that makes villanelles so delightful to read and so difficult to write is the pattern of repeated lines. A villanelle has refrain lines, meaning that certain lines repeat in specific places. 

Confused? All of these rules become much clearer in context, so look at the example below, from E.A. Robinson's The House on the Hill* for clarification. Pay particular attention to the repetition of the refrain lines, and the rhyme scheme:

Intriguing, isn't it? Some of the English language’s most beloved poems are villanelles, like Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song, Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art, and Dylan Thomas’s masterpiece Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. What better way to celebrate poetry month than taking a crack at this challenging, beautiful form yourself!

*This poem was included in a collection published in 1896 but was first written in an earlier form in an 1894 letter. Among Robinson's other works was Richard Corey (1897), which became the basis for a song by Simon and Garfunkel in 1966.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thinking about ADHD

An article in last week’s New York Times, "A.D.H.D.Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise," raises some important issues. The article concerns data from a CDC study which interviewed more than 76,000 parents between February 2011 and June 2012 as part of a wide-ranging look at children’s health issues. The CDC has not yet published its findings, but the Times used the raw data as the basis of the article.

According to the Times, diagnoses of ADHD in the U.S. have risen some 41% in the past decade, and 11% of school-age children have received a diagnosis of ADHD. It also reported that about two-thirds of those diagnosed received a prescription for stimulant medication. 

The article continued by noting that the criteria for ADHD -- a checklist of symptoms occurring across situations (for instance both at home and at school) over a period of time -- was due to be expanded in the new Fifth Edition of the DSM, due out this May. This is expected to add to the numbers of teens and adults who are diagnosed with ADHD. 

So, what does this mean for you, for your child, and for clinicians? 

First, parents need to understand that just because a child has difficulties with attention does not mean that he has ADHD. There can be many reasons for attention issues and children can fidget for many reasons. Thoughtful clinicians need to apply the time tested medical approach of “differential diagnosis” when they look at the symptoms commonly associated with ADHD. "Why," they should always ask, "are these behaviors present?" Does this student have a language difficulty, so that she has trouble understanding what is going on in class? It can be hard to pay attention when you can’t follow the classroom discourse. Does he have a problem with memory, so that he jumps and shouts out so that the teacher will call on him before he forgets what he wants to say? Or, perhaps, does she have a true deficit of attention which may or may not be accompanied by hyperactivity?

Even when children have ADHD, we must be thoughtful about what the best strategies may be to deal with this problem. There are many interventions that can and should be tried before using medication. In fact, medications are NEVER sufficient alone. They must always be prescribed in the context of a comprehensive educational plan that includes strategies students, educators, and parents can implement on a daily basis.

Building self-awareness must also be part of the treatment. A child can have ADHD without being ADHD. They must learn about their strengths, and understand that attention weakness exists within the context of their strengths, and perhaps other weaknesses. Attention is a multi-faceted function that appears to involve at least three different parts of a child’s brain. A child needs to know what parts of attention are the sources of their difficulty, and perhaps what parts of attention are working well for them. Attention problems rarely exist in isolation. We owe it to our children to ask, “What else might be contributing to their difficulty?” 

We understand that medication can be enormously helpful for many children for whom the benefits greatly exceed the risks. However, as is the case with every medical treatment, the risks and benefits must be considered on a case-by-case basis. I believe our role as clinicians is to provide parents with the best information that we can and with our best judgment. However, I worry when I hear that parents had their child “tested for ADHD.” I am not saying that the possibility of an ADHD diagnosis shouldn't be considered. What I am saying is that it must be considered in the context of thoughtful consideration of all of the possible causes of a child’s symptoms. And once a diagnosis has been made, medication must be examined in the context of all of the potential interventions.

Illustration: Life Mental Health

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Haiku

The Yellin Center is celebrating National Poetry Month this April with a month of special articles about poetry in all of its many forms. 

Haiku, an ancient form of poetry from Japan, embodies the phrase “short but sweet.” The rules, as far as English language haiku goes, are simple: the poems consist of only three lines containing five, seven, and five syllable respectively. These simple poems are generally devoted to celebrating the simple beauty found in the natural world.

Two of the most revered haiku poets in Japan’s history are Basho (1644-1694) and Issa (1763-1827). Basho’s haiku contain simple observations, though he was not without a sense of humor, as you can see in the second example below! Issa was incredibly prolific, writing over 20,000 haiku during his life. Don’t be fooled by the deceptively simple content of haiku – the good ones contain profound insights. Note that haiku translated from Japanese to English don’t always seem to follow the rules, as it is difficult to preserve both the meaning and the syllable count.


A peasant’s child 

husking rice, pauses 

to look at the moon 

Now then, let’s go out 

To enjoy the snow…Until 

I slip and fall! 


New Year’s Day— 

A one-penny kite, too 

In Edo’s* sky 

Dancing butterflies— 

My journey is forgotten 

For a while. 

Haiku is a wonderful form to try with children, as it is short and unintimidating. Walk to a park or riverbank as the Japanese masters used to do, or show your child pictures of natural scenes. Read classic haiku together and watch as his or her inner poet emerges. Be sure to have a thesaurus on hand for access to synonyms with the right number of syllables!

In poetry month 

Use haiku to celebrate 

Your inner poet!

*Edo is the ancient name for the Japanese capital city of Tokyo.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April is National Poetry Month

It's April 1st and -- no fooling -- we are going to spend an entire month of blogs celebrating poetry! National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by The Academy of American Poets. The Academy was founded in 1934 with the dual missions of "supporting American poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry."

In addition to sponsoring National Poetry Month, the Academy operates a website which features lesson plans for educators and an audio archive of poetry readings and lectures, as well as publishing American Poet, a biennial journal.

Of course, we reserve the right to interrupt our month of poetry blogs with other items of current interest, but we hope that our focus on poetry will prove an interesting sojourn for both our readers and our writers and add a bit of variety to our roll of more than 540 posts to date.

Today we want to mention a terrific supporter of poetry, Caroline Kennedy, whose love of poetry came from her mother, Jacqueline. Caroline has compiled several poetry collections, including The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the just-published Poems to Learn by Heart, aimed at younger readers. There is a terrific interview of Kennedy by Associated Press reporter Jocelyn Noveck appearing in a number of places, including NPR.

And so, with apologies to the real poets out there,

For all this month we will focus on poems
On types of poetry and on poetry tomes
And as you read the posts we write
We hope you share in our delight
In this wonderful world of words and rhyme 
Where rhythm and language create worlds sublime