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By Jasmine Templet, Curlew Branch Librarian

April is National Poetry Month, when we celebrate poetry, poets, and literacy which poetry does a great job of promoting. Kids learn rhyming, rhythm, sound, and many literary devices such as alliteration and figurative language. Poetry is also one of the first types of writing kids and adults can get into as it requires little time and commitment to start.

If you don’t know where to begin, look at Washington state, which has a great variety of local poets.

Regional Poets

WA129 is a collection of 129 poems by authors who lived or grew up in Washington State. With so many poets and poems, you may discover your next favorite piece. You can find physical copies through NCW Libraries but also a free version available here.

Here is a sample from the book:

January River
by Joannie Stangeland

When winter hangs its gray head low,
is it wrong to want a river,
drive east across the mountains and slow by Ellensburg,
set up a camp chair, blanket,
thermos full of coffee on the bank,
snow dusting the ground as ice crusts old footprints,
and where a few yellow leaves
might yet cling, wind in the slender trees
a master of branch language,
the scritch-crack chatter,
bone-clack sound, each twig
a tongue the water answers?

Rena Priest is the current Washington State poet laureate. Her book, Patriarchy
blues, is full of poetry that is tough and nurturing at the same time.

Make it True Meets Medusario: Bilingual Anthology of Neobarroco &
Cascadian Poets was arranged by Paul Nelson, who founded the Seattle
Poetics Lab, and was organized by José Kozer. This anthology features
poems and essays in Spanish and English, giving the reader a variety of

Poetry for Children

Where the sidewalk ends by Shel Silverstein is a classic and much beloved book of children’s poetry that many readers would say is the book that introduced
them to poetry. By turns silly and profound, the poems are meant to be read aloud and enjoyed.

Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins is about Kiyoshi and his grandfather, who writes haiku poems about the things they see. A tender and beautiful book that introduces kids to
haikus and shows how inspiration can be found all around us.

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka uses words as shapes to illustrate what concrete poetry means. It’s a fun and interesting take on the poem
as a shape or an object.

NCW Libraries and Write on the River offer a Writer’s Club that meets monthly at Wenatchee Public Library. This month they will meet at 4:30 p.m. April 19. Learn more HERE.

NCW Libraries also has a writing group that meets in Omak on Mondays from: 3:30pm – 4:30pm. Learn more HERE.

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