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It's National Poetry Month!

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Here's how you can celebrate National Poetry Month through food (and vice versa)!

Poetry and food are a natural match, since both are composed of individual parts that go together to create something new. And, like a stanza of verse and a delicious meal, both can be savored.

Poetry is different than prose, or paragraphs of writing. Like a well-written recipe that has only a few ingredients that complement each other, poetry demands that every word counts. Reading poetry requires you to pay attention to the meanings of words and their deeper messages. How would tasting food with such focused attention change the way you eat? Can you try it to see?

The first National Poetry Month

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets encouraged people to participate in the first National Poetry Month. Schools, libraries, businesses and other organizations celebrated poetry in different ways. Since then, every April has been National Poetry Month. For more resources, visit www.poets.org.

A poetic activity

Do you study poetry in school? Are you part of your school’s literary club? Ask your teacher if you can create a National Poetry Month celebration at your school.

One fun activity is gathering a few different foods such as sliced oranges, pretzels, and marshmallows. Give every student one of each. Observe the look, smell, touch and taste of each. Get specific and write out your observations. Use your lists of words and ideas to draft inspired poems.

Poetry challenge

Can you make 100 observations about a marshmallow?

Literary devices

Poets need tools to create poetry. While words are the raw materials, poets also master literary devices, or ways that they can express ideas. The more literary devices that you can master, the more intricate and layered your poems can be.

Simile

Making a comparison using like or as.

Example: A marshmallow is like a sweet pillow.

Metaphor

Making a comparison by saying something is something else.

Example: A marshmallow is a soft candy cloud.

Alliteration

Repeating sounds at the start of words in a line or stanza to create emphasis.

Example: A marshmallow melts in my mouth.

Hyperbole

Using extreme exaggeration to create emphasis.

Example: I could eat only marshmallows forever.

Discover poems about food

Everyone eats, and food is a universal experience, so it makes a great topic for creative writing. Lots of well-known poets have been inspired to write about how food looks and tastes and more. Some poems to read are:

This is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams
Deep In Our Refrigerator by Jack Prelutsky
Chocolate Milk by Ron Padgett
Beautiful Soup by Lewis Carroll
Ode to Fried Potatoes by Pablo Neruda

What food do you think is a perfect subject for a poem? Would it be one you enjoy or dislike?

Poem-worthy potatoes

Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients

•1 pound potatoes, with peels on, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1 teaspoon salt
•¼ teaspoon black pepper
•⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
•¼ teaspoon thyme, dried

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, toss potatoes with all other ingredients.

Spread potatoes in a single layer on a foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until potatoes are crispy, golden and cooked through. Potatoes are done when a knife slides through the thickest part effortlessly. Ask an adult to help test for doneness.


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