Morgan’s Mumbles: A Poetry Perspective, by teen contributor Morgan Randall
Some time ago, I decided to give teens a voice here in this space. I wanted to not just advocate for teens, but to give them space to share the truth of who they are with us and hoped that in doing so, we would see how rich and complex and full teens are. Though I imagine if you’re here, you already know that. But I love getting glimpses into the inner lives of teens to help us better serve them. Today Morgan is talking with us about poetry.
Recently, I have been getting back into poetry, and I would love to recommend some pieces that I have been really absorbed in.
- Tickled Pink by Kevin Kling
This poem is the one that got me back into poetry, we recently read it for my Power Of Story class. I love the way that this poem tackles the topic of terrible things that can happen in a blink of an eye, but then also discusses the beauty of growing after that. My two favorite quotes from this poem include: “Knowledge is not cheap” and “Every scar is a monument to a battle you survived.”
- A Poison Tree by William Blake
This poem discusses what happens to our souls, and those around us when we harbor anger within us. It talks about how it manifests and grows from a seed of anger to a poisonous tree. I love the imagery used by Blake to create a piece of poetry that can easily be related to anyone, as anger is something that everyone experiences. My favorite quote from this poem is: “And I waterd it with fear” because it shows what really causes anger grows.
- O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman
As I tried to decide between which of my favorite Walt Whitman poems to include I ultimately decided on this one, in all honesty (partially), due to the fact I adore the movie The Dead Poets Society. But, that isn’t the only reason. I also love how he was able to create such a vivid scene without many words. I genuinely appreciate the fact that the poem is more than it appears at face value, and has a deeper historical meaning as the captains’ death represents the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the emotional state of the United States as the news was announced. My favorite quote from the poem is: “The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, it’s voyage closed and done.”
- Fairytales by Nikita Gill
I love Nikita Gill’s work and how she is unafraid to discuss sides of stories that are overlooked or forgotten. This poem is no exception, she talks about sides of Fairytales that were never taught to those of us who watched the Disney versions. She also is unafraid to make social claims in this poem, as she demands that girls are shown woman role models who are realistic and flawed. My favorite quote from this poem is: “Let’s raise girls who don’t just wait to be rescued, but take destiny into their own hands.”
“We have all taken turns / being Red Riding Hood / and we have all been the wolf,”
- Who Would Remember by Erin Hanson
In this poem Erin Hanson tackles something that I think is often to deep for a lot of people to think about, she discusses the fear of death and goes on to talk about how maybe death isn’t what we fear. We fear being forgotten, she does so by talking about the small things that we do every day to make sure our name is placed on things. My favorite quote from this poem is:
“The hope they’ll stumble on the stories
We have love, worn down with age,
That there they’ll find what we have left,
Our name on the cover page,
And for just that fleeting moment
It’s as though we’ve beaten death,”
- “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
During my freshman year of high school, my English teacher had us read this poem because it was one of her favorites. And, honestly, it resonated with me because I loved this idea of hope being something that exists and never ceases no matter where we are or what is happening. It is something that exists separately from us and doesn’t ask anything of us but rather just is constantly providing a joyful noise. My favorite quote from this poem is:
“Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”
- Daffodils by William Wordsworth
This poem was one of the main ones we focused on my senior year of high school, it was one of my favorite poems to read because I loved the idea of floating away from everything here and then being able to be only in the company of nature. I loved the possibility of imagining what it would be like to travel the world from that perspective and all the stories you would be able to hear. While I love the poem as a whole, my favorite quote would have to be:
“Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
- Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
This poem is probably one of Maya Angelou’s most famous works, and it is absolutely amazing. The poem is written in a manner that allows it to be interpreted and applied to any situation that the reader may currently be in, or could have been in in the past. It shows the feeling of being caged, and isolated from the rest of the world but promises that there is hope and more outside of the cage.
My favorite quote, while hard to decide, is ultimately:
“for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”
Morgan Randall, Teen Contributor
Morgan recently graduated high school and is currently enrolled to attend college in the fall getting her BA in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis on Design and Technology. She loves theatre, writing, reading, and learning. But something that has always been important to her is being a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one, and being a catalyst for change in any way possible.FacebookTwitterShare
Filed under: Poetry
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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