I’m not a fan of poetry in general. I don’t really “get” it most of the time and I find a lot of poetry to be tiresome and pretentious.
So, naturally, I’ve devoted hours and hours over the last two years to planning and creating “Inspired by Poetry,” a 30-part display that celebrates how poetry has been integrated by young adult authors represented in the Teen Scene collection at Salem Public Library. As most readers notice from time to time, snippets of poems—some classic, some contemporary—are woven into many stories, inspire book titles, and appear as chapter headings. Usually, the story includes a piece, rather than the entire poem. Initially inspired by Ally Condie’s use of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” in her book “Matched,” I got to thinking that it would be interesting to share the whole of the poems with our patrons.
April was the obvious time to do something about it, with it being National Poetry Month and all. I read and researched and poked around until I managed – in April 2013 – to create a “Poem a Day” display set up like a calendar by putting up a new poem each day from April 1-30. Then, I left it up for a week or so to give the poems at the end of the month a chance.
I so enjoyed watching patrons stop and read the poems. I enjoyed even more helping those same patrons find the books that included the poems. And I also read and thought about each poem myself and learned that I might, after all, be a fan of at least some poetry.
I’ve updated a bit since, as I continue to read and stumble across poetic inspirations in my collection. The poems currently included are:
• “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” (Dylan Thomas) used in “Matched” by Ally Condie
• “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (Robert Frost) used in “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
• “Illusions” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) used in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
• “Invictus: The Unconquerable” (William Ernest Henley) used in “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare
• “I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone” (Ranier Maria Rilke) used in “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater
• “Ozymandias” (Percy Bysse Shelley) used in “Okay for Now” by Gary Schmidt
• “To a Mouse” (Robert Burns) used in “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
• “Go and Catch a Falling Star” (John Donne) used in “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne-Jones and “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman
• “Stop All the Blocks, Cut Off the Telephone” (W.H. Auden) used in “Taking Off” by Jenny Moss
• “From a Distance” (Cliff Richard) used in “Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher
• “The Red Wheelbarrow” (William Carlos Williams) used in “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
• “I’m Nobody! Who are You?” (Emily Dickinson) used in “Nobody’s Secret” by Michaela MacColl
• “The Hollow Men” (T.S. Eliot) used in “Wither” by Lauren DeStefano and “The Compound” by S.A. Bodeen
• “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” (Robert Burns) used in “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
• “Psalms 147” (Holy Bible) used in “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry
• “Crossing the Bar” (Alfred Lord Tennyson) used in “Crossed” by Ally Condie
• “Paradise Lost” (John Milton) used in “The Golden Compass” by Phillip Pullman
• “How Do I Love Thee?” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) used in “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver
• “All is Truth” (Walt Whitman) used in “Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets” by Evan Roskos
• “Lady of Shallot” (Alfred Lord Tennyson) used in “Avalon High” by Meg Cabot
• “There’s a Certain Slant of Light” (Emily Dickinson) used in “Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things” by Kathryn Burak
• “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (John Donne) used in “One Piece: Volume 5” by Eiichiro Oda and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Earnest Hemingway
• “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” (T.S. Eliot) used in “The Shadow Society” by Marie Rutkoski and “Dreamland” by Sarah Dessen
• “Song of Myself” (Walt Whitman) used in “Paper Towns” by John Green
• “Morning Song of Senlin” (Conrad Aiken) used in “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” by Madeleine L’Engle
• “The First Day’s Night Had Come” (Emily Dickinson) used in “Recovery Road” by Blake Nelson
• “The Highwayman” (Alfred Noyes) used in “Mark of the Gold Dragon” by L.A. Meyer
• Monologue from “Hamlet” (William Shakespeare) used in “Perchance to Dream” by Lisa Mantchev
• “The Road Not Taken” (Robert Frost) used in “The Rhyming Season” by Edward Averett
• “The Old Church Tower” (Emily Bronte) used in “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare
The display pages are designed in full color on 11×17 paper, but I have created a PDF that could be easily printed in “fit to page” mode on 8 ½ x 11 paper. I would be happy, nay delighted, to share this file with anyone who wants to share these poems with the patrons in their libraries. Just email me at email@example.com to receive a copy.