Illinois' current poet laureate is Kevin Stein, who is a well respected literary critic as well as a poet. Read an interview with Stein here.
Before we check out Stein's poetry, here is a youth poem featured on his website. Stein is a champion of kids writing poetry -- you'll find some great work by children on his site. Yay!
Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, 6th grade
When cheese is first made, it does not have
When a child is born, it has not discovered
all its senses.
As the cheese ages, it gets more flavor.
As the child grows, it explores the world.
When the cheese is sold, it lives in
When people become adults, they get a job,
have a family, and buy a house.
Eventually, the cheese gets forgotten,
it gets moldy and is fed to a dog,
or eventually when you are old,
your kids move away
and after a long hard life
you lie down to rest
for the rest of your life.
It Didn’t Begin with Horned Owls
Hooting at Noon
Though in them he heard the weird symmetry
of loss and love’s becoming, a great silence
between one call and the other’s reply.
So he laid block, framed studs into walls:
plumb, square, on line. He stayed up late,
straightening bent nails on the lip of a block
with his ballpeen hammer, the way a contractor
with a sprung back had shown him. Evenings
he went next door to talk, toting his thermos
of bitter coffee and a picture of his son
who’s dying of AIDS. Son he’d failed, sonhe’d pounded on and never got right.
The rest of the poem is at the Poetry Foundation.
Anastasia Suen is hosting Poetry Friday at Picture Book of the Day. Stop by for some rockin' verse.