Category: News

Famous Poets: Judith Viorst

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet legendary American children’s author and poet Judith Viorst. I have been a fan of her poems for many years and was thrilled to get the chance to tell her so in person.

Kenn Nesbitt and Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst is an American author, journalist, and poet who has written many books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for both children and adults. She is best known for her Alexander picture book series, which includes the award-winning Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Born on February 2, 1931 in Newark, New Jersey, Viorst grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey with a love of reading and writing. After attending college at Rutgers University, she worked as a journalist, covering politics and foreign affairs for several newspapers and magazines.

If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries by Judith Viorst

But it was her work as a children’s author that made her famous. Her first book of poetry for children, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents, was published in 1981 and quickly became a classic. This collection of poems, which ranges from silly to poignant, touches on the common childhood experiences. It begins…

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

Her other poetry collections for children include Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents and What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem by Judith Viorst

In addition to her children’s poetry, Viorst also wrote many other books for both children and adults, including picture books, science books, and a series of poetry collections for adults about growing older.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and honors for her writing. She has also been recognized for her contributions to the field of children’s literature, and her poetry remains popular to this day.

She has left a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature. Her poetry, with its humor, honesty, and sensitivity, continues to delight and inspire young readers today. Her work is a testament to her passion for writing and her dedication to helping children understand and cope with the complexities of the world around them.

If you would like to read some of her poems, check the poetry section of your library or ask your librarian if they have If I Were in Charge of the WorldSad Underwear, or What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?

Famous Poets: Gelett Burgess

When I was a kid, my dad would often recite poems to me, especially short, funny ones. A couple that I loved were a nursery rhyme called “Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bear” and a short poem called “The Purple Cow,” written by a man named Gelett Burgess, which read:

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

Gelett Burgess

Gelett Burgess was an American writer, poet, and humorist, who was famous for his children’s poetry. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 30, 1866, Burgess moved to San Francisco, California in 1887 after graduating college. There he began his career as a freelance artist and illustrator before turning to writing just a few years later.

Goops and How to Be Them by Gelett Burgess

One of Burgess’s most famous works is The Goops, a series of illustrated children’s poems. The Goops poems feature a group of mischievous and misbehaving children who are taught lessons about manners and good behavior through lighthearted verse and playful black-and-white illustrations. He first published these poems in a magazine called “The Lark” that he created with a group of friends, including children’s poet and mystery writer Carolyn Wells (who happens to be one of my all-time-favorite poets).

The Lark by Gelett Burgess

His poem “The Purple Cow” also first appeared in The Lark in 1895. It became such a famous poem that strangers would often recite it to him. While this was meant to show that they liked the poem enough to memorize it, Burgess eventually became so sick of hearing it that he wrote the following sequel, which he published in The Lark in 1897:

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!

In addition to his Goops books, Burgess wrote other poetry books for children, including The Burgess Nonsense Book, as well poetry for adults, short stories, and novels. He even wrote a dictionary of words he invented called Burgess Unabridged: A New Dictionary of Words You Have Always Needed, in which he coined the word “blurb,” which is still commonly used today.

Burgess Unabridged by Gelett Burgess

Burgess passed away in 1951, but his work has continued to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. His poetry and children’s books have been widely anthologized and remain popular to this day. His unique style and sense of humor made him a beloved figure in American literature. If you liked “The Purple Cow” and its sequel, you can read a few more of his short, silly poems here.

Famous Poets: Lewis Carroll

January 27 is the birthday of Lewis Carroll, an English writer, poet, mathematician, and photographer best known for his two famous novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Lewis Carroll

Born in 1832 in northern England as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, he grew up in a family with eleven children. As a child he loved to read and he began writing poems and short stories at a young age. In his early twenties, he had a number of works published in magazines. In 1856, at the age of 24, he first used the pen name Lewis Carroll for a poem called “Solitude.”

In 1865, he published his first, and most successful novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This book was especially notable for its fantastical and imaginative nature, as well as its use of wordplay and clever puns. It is considered a classic of children’s literature. It has been in print continuously for more than 150 years and has been translated into more than 80 languages. The story follows the adventures of a young girl named Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole and enters a surreal world filled with talking animals and strange characters.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In addition to being a novelist, Carroll was also a skilled poet. Each of his books of children’s literature includes a number of poems that are filled with clever wordplay. His most famous poem, “Jabberwocky,” appeared in the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a book called Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. “Jabberwocky” is perhaps the world’s best-known “nonsense poem,” filled with made-up words, leaving the reader to decide on the meaning of the words from their context and sound.

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

In addition to his Alice novels, he also wrote another pair of children’s novels called Sylvie and Bruno and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, both of which include a number of poems, the most famous of which is “The Mad Gardener’s Song.”

Aside from his novels, Carroll wrote several collections of poems, including Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, Rhyme? and Reason?, and Three Sunsets and Other Poems, as well as another famous nonsense poem, “The Hunting of the Snark,” an epic poem that tells the story of an impossible voyage to catch an elusive creature called the Snark.

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll died in 1898 at the age of 65, but his poems and stories have had a lasting impact on children’s literature. They have inspired countless other writers and continue to delight readers of all ages. His works have also been adapted into numerous films, television shows, and stage productions, including the Disney film Alice in Wonderland, solidifying his place in literary history as a master of children’s literature. Why not celebrate his birthday on January 27 by reading one of his poems?

Famous Poets: Edgar Allan Poe

Happy birthday to the master of the spooky story, Edgar Allan Poe. On January 19th, we celebrate the life and work of this legendary poet and author. From his poem “The Raven” to his short story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe’s works have captivated audiences for centuries with their dark imagery and symbolism. While he did not write for children, his poems, especially “The Raven,” have been enjoyed by young readers for nearly 200 years.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was a 19th century American author, poet, editor, and literary critic whose works are renowned for their dark and mysterious themes. Born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, Poe was orphaned at a young age and was taken in by the Allan family, from whom he adopted his middle name. Poe’s early life was marked by financial difficulties and personal tragedy, which would later be reflected in his writing.

Tamerlane and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe began writing poetry at a young age and published his first collection, Tamerlane and Other Poems, in 1827, when he was just 18, under the pseudonym “A Bostonian.” Only 50 copies were printed, just 12 of which still exist today. The book received little attention so, though he continued writing poetry, he began to focus more on short stories. Poe also joined the United States Army in 1927, and later the United States Military Academy, but left in order to focus on his writing career.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

In 1845, a few days after his 36th birthday, Poe published his most famous poem, “The Raven,” which tells the story of a man visited by a talking raven, who repeatedly utters the word “Nevermore.” The poem became a sensation and made Poe a household name. “The Raven” is often considered one of the most famous and best known poems in American literature. It begins…

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Poe’s poetry is characterized by its heavy focus on death and the supernatural. He was a master of the “gothic” style, and many of his poems, such as “Lenore” and “Annabel Lee,” deal with themes of death, loss, and the afterlife.

In addition to poetry, Poe also wrote short stories, essays, and criticism. In 1841, he wrote a short story called “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” which is widely considered to be the world’s first detective story, in which a brilliant detective solves a seemingly impossible case. He is often referred to as the father of the detective genre.

He is also widely considered to be the father of modern horror. His short stories, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” were renowned for their inventive plots and use of psychological terror. Poe’s works, with their mysterious and scary themes, had a huge influence on later writers, particularly in the horror, detective, and science fiction genres.

Poe’s life was marked by personal tragedy and financial difficulties. In addition to losing his parents at a young age, his first wife died when she was just 24, and he often struggled to earn enough money. Poe himself died at the young age of 40, under mysterious circumstances. There are many different theories about the cause his death, but we may never know for sure.

Despite the hardships he faced during his lifetime, Edgar Allan Poe is considered to be one of the most influential American writers of all time. His legacy lives on through his enduring works of poetry and prose. His writings continue to be studied, analyzed, and adapted in various forms of media, including movies, TV shows, and other literature. Poe’s writing had an immense impact on the horror and science fiction genres, and his works continue to be a source of inspiration for many poets, short story writers, and novelists to this day.

Famous Poets: A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne, commonly known as A.A. Milne, was an English author, playwright, and poet who is best known for his children’s books, particularly the Winnie-the-Pooh series. He was born on January 18, 1882 in Kilburn, London, England.

A. A. Milne

Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics and graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1903. After college, contributed humorous poems and essays to Punch, a weekly humor and satire magazine, and eventually became an assistant editor there.

As a young man, Milne was a talented cricket player, and played on a couple of teams with many famous authors of the time, including J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and best-selling humorist P. G. Wodehouse.

From 1915 to 1920, Milne served in the British Army during World War I and beyond. For a couple of years during his time in the army, he wrote articles for British Military Intelligence.

In 1920, Milne and his wife had a son, Christopher Robin Milne, who later would appear as the character Christopher Robin in Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books.

A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin Milne

In 1924, two years before the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne published his first book of poetry for children, When We Were Very Young. The book was a best-seller and was followed by several more books of poetry, including Now We Are Six, and other children’s books

When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne

Milne’s most famous work is the Winnie-the-Pooh series, which features the lovable teddy bear and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. The first book in the series, Winnie-the-Pooh, was published in 1926 and was an instant success. The sequel, The House at Pooh Corner was also well-received and continues to be popular today.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

Milne’s writing was characterized by its simplicity and whimsy, and his poetry for children was particularly beloved for its ability to capture the innocence and wonder of childhood. Many of his poems, such as “At the Zoo” and “The King’s Breakfast,” have become classics and are still enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Milne passed away on January 31, 1956, but his legacy lives on through his enduring works of literature. His contributions to children’s literature and poetry have had a lasting impact and continue to be enjoyed by readers all over the world.

Famous Poets: Robert Service

Today, we’re celebrating the life and poetry of Robert Service, one of the most beloved poets in history. Robert Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer who is best known for his works about the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 19th century. He was born on January 16, 1874 in Lancashire, England, and had nine siblings.

Robert W. Service

Service moved to British Columbia, Canada at the age of 21, where he worked a variety of jobs, including as a bank clerk, a farm laborer, and a store clerk, though he dreamed of being a cowboy. He was also writing poems at that time.

He got his first poems published in 1900, at the age of 24, in a daily newspaper called the Victoria Daily Colonist. The Colonist continued publishing his poems for the next several years, while he continued working mainly as a bank clerk.

In 1904, his bank sent him to work in Whitehorse, in the Yukon territory of Canada. There he heard stories of the Klondike Gold Rush, and read famous poems of the time, such as Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” and Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din.” It was these stories and poems that inspired him to write his most famous works.

In the early 1900s, he began writing poems about the gold rush, which he experienced firsthand while living in the Yukon. These poems have been celebrated around the world for their vivid descriptions and captivating stories about frontier life during this exciting period in history. His most famous poem is “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” which tells a gripping story about an old prospector who dies alone on a frozen lake near Dawson City. Other popular works include “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Spell of The Yukon.”

His first book, Songs of a Sourdough was published in 1907, when he was 33 years old. The book was so popular that it was reprinted more than a dozen times and made service a wealthy man.

Songs of a Sourdough by Robert Service

In addition to his poetry, Service also traveled widely and wrote several novels and non-fiction works about his travels and experiences in the North. He was a prolific writer throughout his life, and his works continue to be popular and widely read to this day.

In fact, I even wrote a Christmas poem once, called “The Night Santa Claus Came,” that was inspired by Robert Service. My poem is a retelling of Clement Clark Moore’s “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” (also known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) in the style of Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”

Robert Service died on September 11, 1958, at the age of 84. All these years later, he is still remembered as one of Canada’s favorite and most important poets, not only because his words capture so perfectly what it felt like to live out west at that time but also because they continue to inspire us with tales of courage, adventure, and friendship even today.

How to Host a Poetry Slam

How to Host a Poetry Slam

What Is a Poetry Slam?

A poetry slam is similar to an open-mic poetry party, with a key difference: Poetry slams are competitive events in which poets perform their work in front of an audience and judges. Poetry slams are known for their lively, energetic atmosphere and often feature poets performing original works.

During a poetry slam, poets take the stage one at a time to perform their work. They are often given a time limit, usually three to five minutes, to perform their poem. After each poet performs, the judges score their performance based on criteria such as originality, creativity, delivery, and overall impact.

At the end of the event, the scores are totaled and the poet with the highest score is declared the winner. Poetry slams are often held at schools, community centers, and other public venues and can be a fun and engaging way for young poets to share their work and for audiences to discover new and exciting voices.

How to Host a Poetry Slam

A poetry slam is a great way for students in an elementary school to express themselves creatively and build confidence in public speaking. This is especially true if students are sharing funny poems or poems with engaging narratives. There is almost nothing better than the applause of your peers for overcoming a fear of public speaking and becoming a more confident presenter.

If you would like to host a poetry slam at your school, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Choose a theme: Decide on a theme for the poetry slam. This could be something broad like “self-expression” or something more specific like “nature.” The theme will give the students a focus for their poems and help them come up with ideas.
  2. Recruit judges: Find a group of teachers, parents, or other community members who are willing to serve as judges for the poetry slam. Choose judges who are open-minded and willing to listen to a variety of styles and viewpoints.
  3. Encourage participation: Let students know about the poetry slam and encourage them to participate. You can do this through announcements, flyers, or by setting up a sign-up sheet.
  4. Maybe start a poetry club: Consider starting a poetry club for interested students, where you can hold workshops or after-school sessions to help students write and polish their poems. These workshops can be led by teachers, students, or even local poets.
  5. Set rules: Establish some basic rules for the poetry slam. For example, students should be encouraged to write their own poems and to avoid using profanity or other inappropriate language.
  6. Prepare: Encourage students to select and rehearse their poems before the event. This will help them feel more comfortable and confident when it’s time to perform. Below, I have included several tips on how to help students prepare.
  7. Host the event: On the day of the poetry slam, set up a stage or designated area where the students can perform. Have the judges sit at a table in front of the stage, and provide a microphone and sound system for the students.
  8. Judge the performances: Have the judges score each performance based on criteria such as originality, creativity, delivery, and overall impact. The student with the highest score wins the poetry slam. You can also have a grand prize winner as well as second and third-prize winners.
  9. Celebrate the winners: After the poetry slam, celebrate the winners and all of the participants. You can do this with a small ceremony, perhaps with a ribbon, medal, or certificate, and possibly by displaying the winning poems around the school.

How to Prepare

In addition to planning for the poetry slam itself, students will need to prepare for the event too. There are several ways that students can practice and prepare to participate in a poetry slam:

  1. Write, write, write: Encourage students to write as many poems as they can. The more they write, the more comfortable they’ll become with the writing process and the more likely they are to come up with a poem they’re proud to perform. They can find lots of poetry writing lessons here.
  2. Look for inspiration: Encourage students to find inspiration for their poems from their own experiences, observations, and emotions. They can also be inspired by the poetry of others or by current events and issues. One of the easiest things to write about is something you really like or enjoy. For example, if your favorite thing is playing hockey, consider writing a poem about hockey. If you’d rather play Pokémon, try writing about that.
  3. Workshops: Consider holding workshops or after-school sessions to help students write and polish their poems. These workshops can be led by teachers, students, or local poets and can be a great way for students to get feedback on their work and to learn new writing techniques.
  4. Practice reading aloud: Encourage students to rehearse performing their poems aloud to get a feel for the rhythm and flow of their words. This will help them deliver their poem with confidence and clarity. For ideas on how to rehearse, have a look at this article I wrote on How to Recite a Poem Like an Expert.

Hosting a poetry slam can be a fun and rewarding experience for both the students and the school community. By following these steps, you can create a successful and memorable event.

Famous Poets: Carl Sandburg

Let’s take a look today at the life and work of Carl Sandburg, one of America’s most beloved poets. Carl Sandburg was a renowned poet, historian, and biographer. Born on January 6, 1878 in Galesburg, Illinois, Sandburg was the son of Swedish immigrants. He grew up in a poor family and had to work various odd jobs to make ends meet. Despite this, Sandburg was a voracious reader and developed a love for literature at an early age.

Carl Sandburg

After working as a milk-cart driver, a hotel porter, a bricklayer, a farmhand, and a coal-heaver, he eventually became a journalist, writing for the Chicago Daily News.

Sandburg began writing poetry in his teenage years and published his first collection in 1904, at the age of 26. In 1916, he published a book of poetry called Chicago Poems. This collection, his first from a mainstream publisher, contained some of his most famous works, such as “Chicago” and “Fog.” It was met with critical acclaim and established Sandburg as a major figure in American literature. His next collection, “Cornhuskers,” won him the first of his three Pulitzer prizes.

Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg

In addition to his poetry for adults, Sandburg was also known for writing stories and poems for children. He wrote three books of stories for kids between 1922 and 1930; Rootabaga Stories, Rootabaga Pigeons, and Potato Face. These were collections of whimsical and imaginative tales that were meant to be read aloud to children. The stories, which featured characters such as the “Piggyback Hound” and the “Corn-Stalk Boy,” were meant to appeal to the childlike sense of wonder and imagination in all of us.

Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg

Sandburg’s poetry for children was known for its simplicity and accessibility, as well as its ability to convey complex themes in a way that children could understand. One of his most famous children’s poems is “Theme in Yellow,” from Chicago Poems, about the things a jack-o-lantern sees on Halloween night.

Another example is his poem “Fog,” also from Chicago Poems, which compares the fog covering the harbor and city to a silent cat.

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

He also wrote a number of children’s poems that were discovered in 1999, 32 years after his death, and published as a book entitled Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote.

Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote by Carl Sandburg

One thing that stands out about Carl Sandberg’s poems is their timelessness; their ability to transcend generations. His poems have remained popular among both young readers today and those who grew up reading them decades ago.

In addition to his poetry, Sandburg was also a historian and biographer. He wrote a Pulitzer-prize-winning multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, which was published in the 1950s and is still considered one of the most comprehensive and well-researched biographies of the former President.

Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg died on July 22, 1967, at the age of 89. His work, especially his poetry for adults and children, has had a lasting impact on American literature and continues to be widely read and admired today.

Poetry’s Impact on Childhood Literacy

Kenn Nesbitt Poet

Hi, All! It’s a new year and, hopefully, we are all a little bit wiser, as well as another year older. I began writing poetry for children in 1994, which means that 2023 is my 30th year as a poet. Over these past three decades, I have learned quite a lot about poetry and, more importantly, its effect on kids. I have seen firsthand how poetry turns “reluctant readers” into voracious readers. So, as this new year begins, I thought I would take a moment to share some of the insights I have gained into poetry’s impact on childhood literacy.

Poetry is an important tool for improving childhood literacy for several reasons. First and foremost, poems for children tend to be short, typically just one or two pages, which can make reading a poem seem less daunting for young readers than, say, an entire book. Children who might shy away from a 200-page novel, are often much more interested in reading bite-sized chunks of poetry.

At the same time, though, a good poem typically evokes an emotional response from the reader, despite its brevity. Whether it’s a laugh, a smile, goosebumps, or even tears (I still can’t read Eugene Field‘s poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” without choking up a little), that small feeling encourages kids to turn the page and read another.

All the while, poetry is helping to develop a child’s vocabulary and language skills. Through the use of descriptive language and figurative speech, poetry exposes children to a wide range of words, phrases, and concepts that they may not encounter in everyday conversation. This, in turn, helps to expand their understanding of the English language and improve their overall literacy.

Additionally, poetry can also help to develop a child’s reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Poetry sometimes requires readers to interpret and analyze the text in order to fully understand its meaning. This can help children to become more attentive and engaged readers, as they must actively think about the words on the page in order to make sense of the poem.

Poetry can also serve as a gateway to other forms of literature. Many children are initially drawn to poetry because of its rhythm and rhyme, which can make it more enjoyable and easier to read than other types of writing. Once a child has developed an interest in poetry, they may be more inclined to explore other forms of literature, such as novels and short stories, which can further improve their literacy skills.

Moreover, poetry can also help to foster a love of language and literature in children. Many children are naturally drawn to the beauty and musicality of poetry, and this can inspire them to develop a lifelong love of reading and writing. This, in turn, can lead to a stronger foundation in literacy and a greater likelihood of academic and professional success in the future.

In short, poetry is an important tool for improving childhood literacy. Through its use of descriptive language, figurative speech, and critical thinking, poetry helps to develop a child’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and overall love of language and literature. As such, it should be an integral part of any literacy program for young children.

On Poetry4kids, I have tried to make incorporating poetry in the classroom as easy as possible. As of this writing, there are more than 900 poems and nursery rhymes of mine on the site, plus classic children’s poems, writing lessons, activities, videos, and lots more. Feel free to use them in the classroom, as homework assignments, as bedtime reading, or any other way you like. And please tell your kids I said, “Hi!” and that I hope they have fun reading (and writing) poetry

Kenn Nesbitt with My Dog Likes to Disco

Famous Poets: Charles E. Carryl

Welcome students and teachers! December 30 is the birthday of Charles Edward Carryl, a renowned American author who wrote many books for children (and one about the stock market just for adults). He is best known for his fantastically silly children’s novels and poems, which have been enjoyed by generations of young readers.

Charles E. Carryl

Carryl was born in New York City in 1841 and grew up in a household filled with books and a love of literature. His parents were very supportive of his writing ambitions from an early age; they encouraged him to read widely and express himself through literature.

As an adult, he became a successful businessman and stockbroker. He married his wife, Mary Carryl, in 1869 and they had two children, Guy and Constance. (Guy even became a famous humorist and poet in his own right, but that’s a story for another day.)

However, it was his love of literature and poetry that ultimately became his lifelong passion. Carryl began writing poems and stories for his own children in the 1870s. Once he began publishing them in the 1880s, his work quickly gained popularity due to its wit, charm, and ability to capture the imagination of young readers. His first novel, Davy and the Goblin, was published in 1885 and is still considered to be a classic of nonsense literature.

Davy and the Goblin by Charles E. Carryl

Carryl’s poems were particularly popular with younger audiences due their whimsical nature combined with moral lessons that could be learned throughout each poem, often featuring animals or mythical creatures like fairies or elves. Many themes explored in his writings include friendship, loyalty, bravery, and courage but also cautionary warnings against vanity and pridefulness among others topics relevant even today.

Perhaps his most famous poem is “The Walloping Window-Blind,” a nonsense poem published in 1885, and written in a style very similar to that of Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. Like Lewis Carroll, Charles Carryl included many poems in his novels for children, including “The Camel’s Complaint” (also known as “The Camel’s Lament”) from his second novel The Admiral’s Caravan: A Tale Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.

The Admiral's Caravan by Charles E. Carryl

Carryl was a talented and influential author and poet who made a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature with his wit, charm, and ability to capture the imagination of young readers. His poems and stories continue to be enjoyed by generations of children. You will find several of them on the Classic Poems page on this site.

He left behind a legacy filled with timeless works suitable not only for kids but people of all ages looking into get lost in fantastical worlds, so why don’t you give one (or two!) of these pieces ago? You won’t regret it!