Paul Janeczko

Paul Janeczko

Paul Janeczko was born on July 27, 1945, in Passaic, New Jersey, and became a remarkable poet, anthologist, and author who dedicated his life to sharing the magic of poetry with young readers. Through his engaging poems and his work as an anthologist, Paul Janeczko helped to make poetry accessible, fun, and enjoyable for children all around the world.

Discovering the Love for Poetry

As a child, Paul Janeczko did not enjoy school or reading until his mother challenged him to read for 15 minutes after dinner instead of going outside to play. He soon learned to love to read, but still did not like school or his teachers. He went on to college at St. Francis College in Maine with a plan to become a high school teacher better than the ones he had.

Before becoming a full-time writer and anthologist, Paul Janeczko worked as a high school English teacher for more than 20 years. During his time as a teacher, he shared his love for poetry and literature with his students, using creative ways to engage them and spark their interest. Janeczko not only introduced his students to classic and contemporary poetry but also encouraged them to write their own poems, providing guidance and support to help them develop their writing skills. His experiences as a teacher deeply influenced his later work as a poet and anthologist, as he continued to focus on making poetry accessible and enjoyable for young readers. Paul Janeczko’s time as a high school English teacher played a significant role in shaping his passion for sharing the wonders of poetry with the next generation.

Creating Poetry for Children

Paul Janeczko wrote many wonderful poems for children. His poems were full of humor, imagination, and creativity, making them both fun to read and thought-provoking. Janeczko believed that poetry should be enjoyable and accessible for young readers, and his work is a perfect example of that belief.

A Kick in the Head by Paul B. Janeczko

Some of his notable poetry books for children include Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets (2002) and A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005). These books not only feature some of his own poems but also offer guidance and inspiration for young poets who want to learn more about the art of writing poetry.

Introducing Poetry Through Anthologies

Paul Janeczko also created many anthologies, or collections of poems by different poets, which introduced young readers to a wide variety of poetry styles, themes, and voices. He carefully selected poems for his anthologies that were engaging, diverse, and enjoyable for children.

Firefly July by Paul B. Janeczko

Some of his well-known anthologies include A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems (2001), Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems (2018), and The Death of a Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects (2015). These anthologies made it easy for children to explore different types of poetry and discover new favorite poets.

Remembering Paul Janeczko

Paul Janeczko passed away on February 19, 2019, but his amazing poetry and anthologies continue to inspire and delight young readers everywhere. As we celebrate his life and work, we can read his engaging poems, explore his diverse anthologies, or even try writing our own poems inspired by his work. Through his dedication to making poetry accessible and enjoyable for children, Paul Janeczko’s legacy will continue to bring the world of poetry to life for generations to come.

Kenn Nesbitt
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