“Not Gonna Write Poems” Makes Poetry Fun, Playful and Engaging
Poetry is not dead. And it’s not just for stuffy intellectuals either. Poetry that children and people of all ages can read and enjoy is alive and well, thanks to Michael A. Lee’s new book of humorous poems titled “Not Gonna Write Poems.” This is a fun-to-read poetry book written by a physician turned poet, who is also a husband and father; so his rib-tickling poems address the lighter side of family issues like homework, sleepovers, the Boogey Monster, dad’s snoring, hiccups, and more.
“My purpose in writing this book is to make poetry enjoyable for all,” explains Michael,“I want children and their families to smile and laugh a lot when reading my book. Its whimsical style makes it great to read out loud.”
It was the late poet Shel Silverstein who inspired Michael to start writing poetry that everyone could relate to and appreciate. “My family and I have always loved the poems/drawings of the famous poet/author Shel Silverstein,” says Michael.“We often read his poems to our daughter before putting her to bed. So that’s how my poetry book began.”
But this isn’t where the influence from Shel Silverstein ends – because Michael (along with his daughter), also drew the illustrations for the book. “My poetry book has many funny drawings, done by myself and my 10-year-old daughter,” proudly adds Michael, “that add to the humorous nature of the poems.”
“Not Gonna Write Poems” is a poetry book that is also in keeping with the spirit of National Poetry Month, celebrated every April throughout the schools and communities of the United States. National Poetry Month, which has grown to become the largest literary celebration in the world, was created by the Academy Of Poets in 1996. This is a month-long celebration which includes “Poem In Your Pocket Day,” poem sharing, open mic poetry readings, and creative writing workshops.
And this is what Lee’s “Not Gonna Write Poems” is all about – sharing the love of contemporary, relevant poetry and artwork that is not only relatable to the whole family but also enjoyable to read out loud. And to share poetry with one another and appreciate how poetry touches our lives is the focus of National Poetry Month. In fact, “Not Gonna Write Poems” may encourage your children to write poetry and draw pictures of their own!
This is because reading and writing poems and drawing sketches is much more within the reach of the people who want to express themselves – rather than the effort required to write a whole novel or paint a picture. And modern technology, like computer software and the internet, makes it even easier to create and share poetry and art. Even modern poets agree with this theory that poetry is experiencing a resurgence thanks to the internet.
Rosemarie Dombroski, the inaugural poet laureate of Phoenix, explains the current interest in poetry this way: “From Instagram to Twitter, slam poetry to poetry zines, poetry has risen from obscurity, and it’s making substantial contributions to the current of social activism within the art community and the community at large.”
The shorter length of poetry verses absolutely lends itself to the formats of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Combine a short verse with a photo or simple artwork and you have a meme, the modern version of what Shel Silverstein accomplished using mechanical means.
And as Michael A. Lee has proven, your poetry can be about anything - and it doesn’t have to be somber, grim, or murkily written. In this excerpt from “Not Gonna Write Poems” Michael Lee writes poetry about something as simple as snoring, appropriately titled “Ode to My Snore.”
“There’s a sound so loud
Coming out from my mouth, for which I’m not proud.
It only happens when I’m deep in slumber.
Why this foul noise emanates from me, I can only wonder.
Blowing like a trumpet,
It would disturb your tea with crumpets.
It returns every night
And puts my wife’s rest in plight.”
To further understand why Michael Lee’s poetry is so appealing to its audience, it is important to look at a few of the poetic elements he incorporates into his poems for his readers to enjoy:
The stanzas of Lee’s poetry are mainly four lines each, making them quatrains. These quatrains make it easy for these poems to be read to children out loud because they contain a complete thought, allowing for a pause where everyone can enjoy a good chuckle.
The form or style of Lee’s poetry is generally descriptive, meaning he talks about the world around him. This is a world that his readers, including children, can identify with and laugh about. The real twist, however, is that when Lee writes an ode - it is about Dad’s snoring – when odes are generally written about a serious subject and in an elevated style.
The rhyming of Lee’s poetry is obvious and purposeful. While much of modern poetry does not necessarily rhyme, this is a book to be read aloud to children, so the rhyming adds to the quirkiness of the poetry, which makes it fun to read.
Although poet Michael Lee rhymes many of his verses, he writes his poetry with an irregular meter. This is as opposed to writing with both an even meter and rhyming verses, which would have made the poems sing-song and monotonous – much like nursery rhymes for very young children. However, the irregular meter, combined with the rhyming, is what makes Lee’s poems so pleasurable to read for children who are old enough to start appreciating modern poetry.
Which makes “Not Gonna Write Poems” a great way to introduce poetry and art to your children, even if you have never had an appreciation for poetry yourself. This is because “Not Gonna Write Poems” is written by a parent with his child, so it is tailor-made for the family who wants to explore this literary genre without the intensity and obscurity of traditional or even experimental poetry that scares most people away from this type of literary work.
Quite the opposite, “Not Gonna Write Poems” is a book of poetry that is all about seeing the humor of life around you. In this case, modern family life. And most importantly, if you are a parent who wants to introduce your child to poetry, “Not Gonna Write Poems” is the perfect place to start.
You can find out more about Dr. Michael A. Lee's book of poetry entitled NOT GONNA WRITE POEMS on his website page, Mikeleethepoet.com.