Seeing Differently

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Poetry Anthology ? LIS 55565

Laura Armstrong

Seeing Differently:

Poems that Encourage Us to Look at the World Around Us

A Poetry Anthology by Laura Armstrong

LIS 5565: Information Needs of Young Adults 12/7/2014

Seeing Differently: Poems to Help Us Look at the World Around Us This anthology of poetry was inspired by the idea that sometimes we just need to see things differently, to pause and look at situations from a different angle. The poems are about stopping to really look at the world around us and getting enjoyment from simple occurrences. I chose this topic because I wanted to collect poetry for teens that would encourage enjoyment, delight, and celebration of the everyday things in life. The days of teenagers can be so filled with activities that things can feel busy, overwhelming, or all-consuming. I decided to find poems that would instead make readers think about slowing down, noticing things, and allowing that to shape the day. Poems that make you look at things differently. I began my poem search by reading through a stack of poetry collections. I marked poems that jumped out at me and went back later and read through those again, narrowing down even more. I was surprised to find that so many of the poems that stood out were about noticing simple things - birds in the trees, the way someone smiles, laughter, art, etc. It became obvious that this needed to be the focus of my anthology. I tried to select poems with a range of topics, styles, forms, and rhythms. In doing this, I hoped to bring together a collection of poems that point out that something can be seen and enjoyed in anything around us. I looked for poems that used words creatively. I wanted there to be surprises in the language used to describe simple situations. I chose poems that surprised me. Most of the poems in the anthology were not written for teenagers, but the topics they address apply to the lives of teenagers very well. I questioned some of the poems if they didn't seem obviously for teens, but in the end I felt the poems I chose were appropriate for older teenagers between the ages of 16-19. I arranged the poems by deciding how to begin and end the anthology first. I chose "How Birds Sing" by Kay Ryan to be the first because it stands out to me as an example of seeing something beautiful in something that happens naturally - a bird singing. I ended with "I Am Standing" by Mary Oliver because it is about hearing singing birds and expressing thanks. I thought these two poems echoed off of one another well and serve as a frame around the others. The order in between was chosen based on flow. I wanted to start with poems about seeing beauty in nature and move to seeing things in other areas of life - memories, simple dreams, art, people, and words. So many more poems could have been included, but this anthology serves as a glimpse of how poetry can help you see things differently.

Table of Contents

How Birds Sing Kay Ryan

Dust of Snow Robert Frost

With Thanks to the Field Sparrow, Whose Voice is So Delicate and Humble Mary Oliver

To See the World in a Grain of Sand William Blake

The Brooklyn Museum of Art Billy Collins

In a Rear-View Mirror Robert Shaw

Spring Charles Simic

Women Laughing Ruth Stone

Ode to Isabelle's Hair Gray Emerson

Dream Variations Langston Hughes

Famous Naomi Shihab Nye

A Word is Dead Emily Dickinson

I Am Standing Mary Oliver

How Birds Sing

Kay Ryan

One is not taxed; one need not practice; one simply tips the throat back over the spine axis and asserts the chest. The wings and the rest compress a musical squeeze which floats a series of notes upon the breeze.

(Ryan, 2010, 100)

Dust of Snow

Robert Frost

The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.

(Rosenberg, 2000, 22)


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