Let’s explore poetry for teens. First, we’ll read some poetry for teens and then we’ll use the poems as models for writing a Memory Poem.
Let’s get going with poetry for teens in a fabulous book named Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else. Edited by Elise Paschen. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2010.
You’re gonna love poetry for teens in Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else, just like other teens have… because…
- there are more than 100 fabulous poems chosen to interest you and your friends
- an audio CD comes with the book: 44 of the poems read by 35 poets; most read by the poets themselves
- there’s a section called “Please Write in This Book”~ You got it: It’s an invitation to write your own poems. YAY!
- there are popular old poems like “Alone” by Edgar Allen Poe —“From childhood’s hour I have not been/As others were…—; “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost—“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that made all the difference.”—; “Hope is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson—“Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul….”—; and “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare—“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun….”
- there are many new(er) poems: “The Germ” by Ogden Nash—“A mighty creature is the germ,/Though smaller than a pachyderm…. —; “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou—“You may write me down in history/With your bitter, twisted lies,/You may trod me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I’ll rise…”—; “Vampire’s Serenade” by Dana Gioia—“I am the dream you cannot forget,/The face you remember without having met…”—; and “Sedna” by Kimiko Hahn—“Come to find out, Sedna,/is the Inuit woman,/whose father cast her from their kayak,/thus transforming her into the spirit of the sea.
- there are upbeat, happy, even comical poems like “A Teenage Couple” by Brad Leithauser—“He said, or she said/(Desperate to have their say),/You know, we may not last forever….”— and “The Bagel” by David Ignatow—“Faster and faster it rolled,/with me running after it/bent low, gritting my teeth.
- sad poems like “Sometimes With One I Love” by Walt Whitman—“Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for/ fear I effuse unreturned love….”—; and “Mediation” by Kim Stafford—“At the dinner table, before the thrown/plate, but after the bitter claim,/is the one beat of silence/before the parents declare war.
- poems about relationships like “The Talk” by Sharon Olds—“In the dark square wooden room at noon/the mother had a talk with her daughter./The rudeness could not go on….”—; and “If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking” by Emily Dickinson—If I can stop one heart from breaking,/I shall not live in vain.
- poems celebrating the self and others like “I Am a Black” by Gwendolyn Brooks—“I am other than Hyphenation./I say, proudly, MY PEOPLE!/I say, proudly, OUR PEOPLE!….”—; “From For a Girl Becoming” by Joy Harjo—“Bury what needs to be buried./Laugh easily at yourself./…May you grow in knowledge, in compassion, in beauty….”—; and “The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee” by N. Scott Momaday—“You see, I am alive, I am alive/I stand in good relation to the earth/I stand in good relation to the gods/I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful.
And so it goes. One delicious discovery after the other.
Had enough? NO?
Stay tuned: The next time we meet::: poems by teens themselves in You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys and Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, both edited by Besty Franco.
In the meantime: Write a Poem: A Memory Poem. 📝
First, go to:
And then take a look at some good examples of memory poems:
Ready to write? Think friends, family, first love, pets, teachers…
Go ahead, get that poem down. Put your poem and/or your notes about the poem in your writer’s notebook. HUH? Writer’s WHAT? Right here, on this website, you’ll find my blog about WRITING TOOLS “Tween and Teen Writing Tips.” That’s where you’ll find a description of the writer’s notebook. Go there now. Be happy.
Happy Reading! Happy Writing! And away we go…