For National Poetry Month: original poems from authors, courtesy of Amazon

For National Poetry Month: original poems from authors, courtesy of Amazon

First, a special heartfelt thanks to Amazon for contacting me and giving me permission to share these with you! Thanks, Amazon! They originally appeared here:

Omnivoracious: “Our Favorite Authors Write Poems for National Poetry Month”

April is the

Academy of American Poets’ National Poetry Month (since 1996)

Poetry is a special form of literature. I have really loved some poetry books, although they probably aren’t the ones which most people would name. In fact, I can be very sure of that. 😉 Here are a couple, neither of which are available from the Kindle store:

The Cole book was simply brilliantly edited. The basic theme was animal poems, but it went to so many styles, and included animals you won’t find in your zoology book. Even though I first read it as a child, I still remember some of the poems. I did get the book again as an adult (you can buy it for a penny at time of writing).

The other one is a bit of a rarity. It’s an anthology of poems where yes, many of them are about The Three Stooges. It has my favorite poem, which is free verse and just a couple of lines. It has to do with a fear of acrobats, but I don’t have permission to reproduce it.

I’ve never written much poetry myself, outside of song lyrics (and those have mostly been song parodies). Poetry and song lyrics aren’t quite the same thing, although there are obvious parallels.

I did write this once…I don’t know why, and I still don’t know what it means. 🙂

“Grunk a nile,
Stay awhile,
Sip a bit of tea.

Have a knife,
Take a life,
Do it all for free.”

Nope, I don’t know what “grunk a nile” means, and it’s an odd sentiment for a pacifist. 😉

I don’t think we can extrapolate from that that writing poetry is hard, but let’s take a look at what famous writers wrote for Amazon:

KATE DiCAMILLO, author of Raymie Nightingale

I read like I breathe.
I need the inhale of words
the exhale of hope.

L.S. HILTON, on her book Maestra

There once was a woman from Liverpool
Who was took by her boss for a fool.
So she travelled the Med
And left many men dead
And did things they don’t teach at school…

CHUCK PALAHNIUK, author of Fight Club 2


Switch the initials
Donald Trump, Tyler Durden
No coincidence.

CYNTHIA D’APRIX SWEENEY, about her book The Nest

There once was a family named Plumb,
Though book-smart, their choices were dumb.
Now they are broke
And Leo’s their hope
But can his heart (and pocket) be won?

RICK RIORDAN, channeling Apollo from The Trials of Apollo

Reading’s pure pleasure
If the subject is awesome.
Like me, for instance.

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN, author of But What If We’re Wrong?

It’s the juice of life
To write as if from Japan
Home of Godzilla

DAVID DUCHOVNY, author of Bucky F*cking Dent

There once was a Yankee named Bucky
Whose name rhymed with words quite unlucky
He beat the Sox
And New England’s jocks
And made D. Duchovny quite lucky

JOE HILL, author of The Fireman

Buy my book and you’ll have my thanks
And what’s more (to be terribly frank)
I’d be wild with glee
If you bought three
And picked up my Amazon sales rank

RICK YANCEY, on his book The Last Star

Sunlight falls away
from the land, and a single
star crushes the dark.

RICH COHEN, author of The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones

Best thing to say
On that first trip back home
Is “Sorry I missed you,
But I was traveling with the Stones.”
26 and writing for a great music magazine
Having fallen into the record
like waking in a dream.
Mick, Keith, Charlie, crazy Ron Wood
And me dancing “Satisfaction” in the wings
like every fan should.
Years later I’ve turned it all into a book
The tours, the music, the history
and don’t forget the look
Keith gave me when he discovered I was born
A year before the death of Brian Jones.
“You’ve never known a world without
the Sun and the Moon and the Rolling Stones.”

ANGELA DUCKWORTH – poem written by her daughter, age 8, about Grit

Angela Duckworth studies grit;
Sticking to things,
Not throwing a fit.
Working real hard,
Practicing well,
If you are gritty,
Angie can tell.
Trying until you have it right,
Just like Edison and his light.
Grit will help you,
Later in life.
“Grit is good” says Jason’s wife.
Messing up sometimes is okay.
But not trying at all?!
We give it a nay.
Being gritty might not be that fun,
But when racing, you’ve already half won.


If there’s one thing I know that I need
It’s a great and spectacular read
When I don’t have a book
My brain’s stuck on half-cook
Like a horse who’s gone off her feed
—Sara Nelson

Double-stacked in the book case
How can I find one more place?
For another favorite tome
That must have a home
I think I just need much more space…
—Seira Wilson

lost: small white haiku
notebook, lined, half empty, half
full—if found, please read
—Jason Kirk

A book is a wonderful thing
As we see what an author can bring
To our spry active minds
Though we sit on behinds
Our brains and our hearts take wing
—Chris Schluep

One day I met Margaret Atwood
And nervously babbled more than I should
She was quite witty
Patient, as I was giddy
Until security parted us, for good
—Erin Kodicek

There you go!

What do you think? How do you generally feel about poetry? Are there poets you would particularly recommend? I find I tend to like whimsical, funny poetry, as opposed to dark and epic…how about you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks again, Amazon, for  the permission to reproduce these for my readers!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


5 Responses to “For National Poetry Month: original poems from authors, courtesy of Amazon”

  1. Allie Says:

    Your poem is interesting, even though you don’t know what “grunk a nile” means! I like it. It has a Lewis Carroll feel – that whole first stanza does.

    The second verse – well I dunno. I think it should be a different poem entirely. Haiku-like, but as can be learned from 2 of my fave poems by Ezra Pound (I like short and sweet – not likely to sit down and read a book of poetry), the spirit of a haiku does not require strict enforcement of rules:

    In a Station of the Metro

    The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
    Petals on a wet, black bough.

    and then
    The Encounter

    All the while they were talking the new morality
    Her eyes explored me.
    And when I rose to go
    Her fingers were like the tissue
    Of a Japanese paper napkin.

    Back to you not knowing the meaning of your poem…. I think that’s normal! I have written poetry on occasion and and I really enjoyed putting words together in a pleasing manner (not to be confused with the mood, which could be anything, including quite dark) – the sound of the words first; meaning was most often secondary. That’s just me. Also I’d much rather listen to poetry read aloud, not so much sit down and read a book full. Although, to continue your analogy of songs, books of poems can be arranged in a very intentional way, to be experienced in a certain order – same as songs on an album of music.

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      I’m glad you liked it…I really appreciate you saying so!

      For me, the two parts go together. I like that they are contradictory. I imagine it, perhaps not unlike the Mad Hatter at the tea party, as something that seems innocent and whimsical at first, but then takes an unexpected dark turn. I suppose Willy Wonka might be similar in that way.

      I also like the poems you posted! I like haiku, and limericks, and other art forms with rules. I enjoy rules…I like the challenge. 🙂 One of the biggest ways I help my Significant Other do a holiday song parody for work is with getting the lines to scan to the original. 😉

      • Allie D. Says:

        “For me, the two parts go together”
        That’s one of the wondrous things about poetry… What the poet says, goes. I have to laugh – this reminds me of a writing workshop, long ago, in which I was roundly criticized for speaking of “raspberry coulis” – the main reason being that as the others did not know how to pronounce it “in their heads”. What are you going to do? Pull the phrase out? NO! It belonged there! Unlike journalism and other prose, poetry can’t be mutated by editors without your express consent! 🙂

  2. Allie Says:

    One more thing – every kid should know Robert Louis Stevens’ “A Child’s Garden of Verses” – you can get a digital but text-only version for free, but a printed, nicely-illustrated book makes for a wonderful gift and endless read-alouds. Be careful when choosing an edition – apparently some volumes do not include all of the original poems. (This is a good example of a “brick-and-mortar” bookstore winning out over the convenience of Amazon and digital editions.)

    Thank you a second time, Bufo, for your post about National Poetry Month. It had missed my attention till now.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      Unfortunately, once something falls into the public domain, you can’t even count on physical versions being faithful. Since there is a bigger investment in producing a physical edition, there may be more motivation to be appealing, but I have seen some…truncated physical editions of books as well.

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