American Life in Poetry: Column 093
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
Newborns begin life as natural poets,
loving the sound of their own gurgles and coos.
And, with the encouragement of parents and teachers,
children can continue to write and enjoy poetry into
their high school years and beyond. A group of
elementary students in Detroit, Michigan, wrote poetry
on the subject of what seashells might say if they could
speak to us. I was especially charmed by Tatiana Ziglar's
short poem, which alludes to the way in which poets
learn to be attentive to the world. The inhabitants of the
Poetry Palace pay attention, and by that earn the stories
My shell said she likes the king and queen
of the Poetry Palace because they listen to her.
She tells them all the secrets of the ocean.
Reprinted by permission from "Shimmering Stars,"
Vol. IV, Spring, 2006, published by the InsideOut
Literary Arts Project. Copyright (c)2006
by the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
This weekly column is supported by The Poetry
Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the
Department of English at the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.