Listen to a young girl describing the effects of how poetry "zaps into your brain...it takes you somewhere." Or another child who tells us that through poems we can "find something that will stay with you forever." And what better writing advice could any poet get than to write your words in "a soft, drifty way." These are just some of the words of wisdom spoken by the children interviewed in the delightful HBO documentary titled A Child's Garden of Poetry.
Yesterday I watched this short film. Produced by HBO along with The Poetry Foundation, the film makers have combined clips of young children detailing the joys of poetry and recitations of famous and some not-so-famous poems. Some of the poems are read by actors and singers such as Dave Matthews and Julianne Moore. Three were recorded by the poets themselves: E.E. Cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carl Sandburg. Along with lovely animation to accompany each one, the poems come alive on the screen.
Another delight is footage of children performing Romeo and Juliet and middle schoolers performing in a poetry slam.
Poets included are: Li Bai, Matsuo Basho, Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Mary Ann Hoberman, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, Claude McKay, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg, William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Wordsworth, William Butler Yeats
Any teachers interested in using this video for their classrooms will be happy to know there is a downloadable book of the poems so students can follow along. I know I plan to use this in my classroom.