Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seeing is Believing

You may have noticed that I had taken a break from blogging over the course of several weeks. I was enjoying much rest and relaxation during my summer break from my full-time job as assistant librarian in a boys' private school.

In addition to reading poetry to/with children and teens, teachers and librarians can also extend young people's exposure to the genre via the Internet. Audio recordings of poets reading their own work and others reading the work of notable poets exist in abundance online.

There are plenty of video recordings of poets performing their work on the Internet as well. Here are 10 sites where you can hear poets who write for young people recite/read/perform their poems:

John Agard

This Guyanese-born UK poet, who writes for children, teens, and adults, served as Poet-in-Residence at England's National Maritime Museum from August to November 2008. Here, Mr. Agard performs his poems “Poetry Jump Up”, “Hello from Cello”, “Hippo to Her Husband”, and “Hippo to His Wife”. (Note: His poems "Crybaby Prime Minister" and "Listen Mr. Oxford Don" are suitable for sharing with teens and adults). He is married to Grace Nichols, also a Guyanese-born poet, who writes for young people and adults.

Sheree Fitch

This Canadian children's poet recites her poem "Mabel Murple" (which is published as a book). She also reads her book If I Were the Moon, and shares poems from her books If I Had a Million Onions and If You Could Wear My Sneakers. Sheree had her first book, Toes in My Nose, published in 1987. She also writes novels (middle-grade, young adult, and adult) and has written poetry for adults. Sheree lives in Nova Scotia.

Steven Herrick

This Australian author writes verse novels and poetry for children, teens, and adults. Here, viewers watch him perform his poems "To My Son, Joe", "10 Things Your Parents Will Never Say to You", "Lost in the Mist", "Witches of William Street", and "Trains". Steven lives in the New South Wales town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

Jack Prelutsky

Mr. Prelutsky is the author of 40+ books of verse and has edited several poetry anthologies. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the first U.S. children's poet laureate. This site features a 40-minute webcast of his appearance at the 2007 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. The author reads several of his poems during the presentation. Mr. Prelutsky lives in Seattle, Washington.

Robert Heidbreder

This Canadian children's poet reads his rhyming picture book, Crocodiles Play, which was published in 2008. This is his follow-up title to Crocodiles Say. In 2002, Robert earned the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. He taught elementary school for 30 years and retired from teaching in 2005. Robert had his first book, Don't Eat Spiders, published in 1985. He lives in British Columbia.

Roger Stevens

This UK poet has had poems published in more than 100 anthologies. "How Can I Be Lonely", "Teachers", "Dad Don't Dance", "A List of Words", "Summer Sea", "Best Holiday", "Pencil Incident" and "Never Trust a Lemon". Four more of his poems read by others are also featured. In addition to being a poet, Roger is a musician and artist. Why Otters Don't Wear Socks is his latest poetry collection for kids.

Brod Bagert

In 1992, Mr. Bagert shut down his 21-year law practice to become a full-time poet. Here, he recites his poems "Protein Passion", "Phantom Fear", and "A Star is Born". This American author, born in New Orleans, has written 15 poetry collections for children and adults. His latest titles are School Fever, A Bullfrog at Cafe DuMonde, and Shout! Little Poems that Roar.

Michael Rosen

This highly prolific and popular British children's poet served as the fifth U.K. children's laureate from 2007 to 2009. Here, Mr. Rosen recites his poems "Boogy Woogy Buggy", "Down Behind the Dustbin", "Spelling", and "Lord Jim" as well as reads his book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt. When his book, The Hypnotiser, went out of print, he was unable to find a publisher to reprint it. As a result, he created recordings of all its poems which can be enjoyed on his site.

Benjamin Zephaniah

This UK poet 's work is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica. The music videos for his various works ("Rong Radio", "Responsible" "Genetics", "Touch", "Tam Lyn") offered here are suitable for sharing with teens and adults. Zephaniah has penned several books including the poetry collections School's Out: Poems Not for School for teens and Talking Turkeys for kids. He lives in Lincolnshire, England.

Mary Ann Hoberman

Mrs. Hoberman is an American author-poet who has written 42 books including All My Shoes Come in Twos and The Llama Who Had No Pajama. Her first novel, Strawberry Hill, was published in August 2009. The National Council of Teachers of English presented her with the 2003 Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Mrs. Hoberman's two-year term as the second U.S. children's poet laureate ends this year.