What Poetry's For

It’s not just for nurseries. It’s not just for rhymes.

It’s stories. It’s feelings. It’s wonders and crimes.

Poetry’s for you.

You read it. You hear it. You rap or you slam.

So be into meter (as iamb, iamb!)—

jump into the bounce that a pattern contains—

or throw out the structure if structure constrains.

The point of a poem is not to cause pains!

It’s to speak. To express. To a page. To a crowd.

“Can it be about—”


Yup. That’s allowed.

We angle our anger, give air to our grief,

spill out our own secrets if that’s a relief.

Use nonsense to soundily wordify laughter.

Repeat a refrain. They’ll remember it after.

Poetry’s for you.

It’s your place for growing, and flowing, and crowing.

So whether or not you have interest in knowing

the sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn...

Come listen.

Come speak.

We’ll be blowing the horn.

Poetry’s for you.

From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more Horn Book centennial coverage, click here.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

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