Sunday, September 19, 2010

Relatability, Simplicity, and Shel Silverstein

It's really nice when you sit down to read a poem and the language used is actually-gasp-normal. Everything is just so much easier. Robert Frost, an American poet, did a wonderful job of using everyday language and speech rhythms to write poetry. When reading his poem, "The Road Not Taken," I noticed the simplicity of the language and immediately began to think of Shel Silverstein, the children's poet every child loved and still loves. He blessed us with his books of poetry like Falling Up and Where the Sidewalk Ends. In these books its where children fell in love with Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and Danny O'Dare. But it's not just the quirky titles or funny storylines we fell in love with; it's the simple vocabulary and relatable plots we grew fond of. Haven't there been multiple times in our life when we felt like Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and didn't want to take the garbage out? Or be Danny O'Dare and act all wild and crazy? Of course there has! And it's not just these two poems by Shel Silverstein that are so relevant to our everyday lives. Relatability and simplicity- the two things we love most about Silverstein. For children, for adults, for our grandmas and grandpas of the world, Shel Silverstein entertains us all. Picture this- you're a children's librarian and you announce that you're going to be reading some of Shel Silverstein's poems. You ask for requests and the little girl with the curly brown hair with the bow who always sits in the back and never talks asks you enthusiastically and excitedly to read Hug O' War, and says "I love that poem!" Picturing this, doesn't it just melt your heart to think that poetry can make someone so enthusiastic? After you're done reading, you ask the class what they liked about the poem. The boy with the striped shirt responds, "It was a happy poem." Then the girl with the bow in her hair says, "I like the poem because it teaches me to be nice." A poem so simple and so basic evokes such wonderful feelings from children. Don't you wish all poets used everyday language to write poetry? As shown by Shel Silverstein, using basic words in poetry has the same effect and gives off just as strong meanings as using advanced vocabulary that even someone who has their Ph.D from Harvard can't understand. So when you go home tonight, go on your computer, type in "Shel Silverstein poems" in Google, sit back, relax, and enjoy. You'll be dazzled. Until we meet again, xoxo Brunette