National Poetry Month Kick-Off!

April is National Poetry Month! Begun in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month was set up to promote the continued reading, writing, and appreciation of poetry. On their website, you can sign up to receive a Poem-a-Day in your e-mail for the month, check out poetry-related events near you, and even download an iPhone app!

Algonquin has a few wonderful books of poetry, and to celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re going to share a few of our favorite poems with you. Today’s is from Robert Alden Rubin’s Poetry Out Loud.

In Poetry Out Loud, Robert Alden Rubin has hand-selected poems that are perfect to read out loud. I have long held the belief that everyone should have at least one poem that they can recite by heart. Like memorizing the words to the National Anthem, tying a bow-tie, or sewing a button–it is just one of those things that should be in everyone’s repertoire, you never know when you might need it.

In honor of the spring allergies that this wonderful weather has brought, I am starting our month-long tribute to reading poetry aloud with The Sniffle by Ogden Nash.

The Sniffle

In spite of her sniffle,
Isabel’s chiffle.
Some girls with a sniffle
Would be weepy and tiffle;
They would look awful,
Like a rained-on waffle,
But Isabel’s chiffle
In spite of her sniffle.
Her nose is more red
With a cold in her head,
But then, to be sure,
Her eyes are bluer.
Some girls with a snuffle,
Their tempers are uffle,
But when Isabel’s snivelly,
She’s snivelly civilly,
And when she is snuffly
She’s perfectly luffly.

Robert Alden Rubin, the editor of Poetry Out Loud, offers some information about this poem:

Ogden Nash, whose humorous poems were a regular feature of The New Yorker for years, never pretended to write immortal verse; this is supposed to be funny and whimsical, so the bouncy skeltonics work here. Part of what makes this poem come to life is the way Nash takes words that are sometimes pronounced differently than they’re spelled and spells them the way they sound. Don’t read this as fast as you would a true skeltonic poem, and pause after the really bad rhymes—to let them sink in.

Chiffle = cheerful.
Tiffle = tearful.
Uffle = awful.
Luffly = lovely.

Now go off into the luffly spring weather, and read this poem out loud to a friend!


One Comment On This Post:

April 1, 2010
6:02 pm
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