On this, the last day of poetry month, I do not want to share a poem with you. Instead I want to tell you about an Australian poet/ author. His name is Steven Herrick. He writes verse novels and poetry for young adults and children. I first learned about him when I was (you guessed it) studying Children's Literature at university. My favourite by Mr Herrick is a primary school teacher's dream... entitled Love Poems and Leg Spinners.
He writes for a range of audiences, from the average 10 year old to the confused adolescent. Herrick somehow manages to use verse to capture the essence of the human experience and share it with his readers. His verse novels are especially attractive to reluctant readers and readers of low ability. Poems rarely fill more than a page, however the poems are so artfully connected that the reader can't help but continue on the journey. Before they know it, they have read half the book. His themes are poignant, relevant, humorous and even heart breaking. His books, while fictional, have an uncanny realism. I feel welcomed into the world of the main characters as they share their journey with me. Reading a verse novel is nothing at all like reading a regular novel, an anthology or a collection of essays or short stories. Verse novels are a genre all their own and they are well worth experiencing, even if it's only once.
So as February ends: I recommend to: you writers out there, to pick up a pen and have a go at a poem or two; the readers out there, to pick up a verse novel; my teacher colleagues to encourage your students in experiencing both.