T.S. Eliot famously wrote that “April is the cruelest month,” but I prefer to focus on its good qualities—the promise of warmer weather for those of us recovering from a cold winter, the abundance of candy at every turn and, in the United States and Canada, National Poetry Month.
Now is a great time to stock your collection with a variety of poetry eBooks and audiobooks for all ages. For children, Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs has short poems about the ocean and the creatures that live in and around it. Stunning watercolor illustrations accompany each poem. And who doesn’t love Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss? The audiobooks of The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites and Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss are all-star affairs, with celebrity narrators like Kelsey Grammer, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Alexander.
To introduce classic poetry to teens, Duke Classic eBooks offers Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the works of Emily Dickinson and what may be required reading for many students, Homer’s The Iliad. For more contemporary fare, try the poetry of singer-songwriter Jewel or popular young adult author Francesca Lia Block.
Russian poet Vera Pavlova’s If There is Something to Desire features 100 short verse, simple and beautiful poems. A poem as short as two sentences (“I have brushed my teeth. This day and I are even.”) can be as effective and tell as much of a story as a full novel.
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins’ The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems includes an introductory note about reading poetry in an eBook format, reminding readers of the importance of structure in poems and how one must be careful when adjusting text sizes so a poem doesn’t lose the shape the poet intended.
She Walks in Beauty, a collection of poems selected by Caroline Kennedy, bills itself as a woman’s journey through poetry. But the selections span universal narratives such as love, relationships, work, raising children, growing old, death and more. There’s a variety of poetry styles, and voices from men and women alike. The audiobook makes you feel like you’re attending a poetry reading, hearing the narrator’s interpretations of each poem.
Melissa Work is a marketing & outreach specialist at OverDrive.