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Alison Deming Recommends

For this month's Recommended Reading list, Alison Deming--Director of the Creative Writing Program and Creative Writing Professor at the University of Arizona--shares her recommended list of poems for youth. Enjoy!

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses

Among my favorite poems in this book are “Bed in Summer” and “My Shadow.”

This was my first poetry book as a child. It taught me how musical both language and thoughtfulness can be. Be not afraid of the archaic poeticisms. This book speaks to a child’s inner life.




From Jerome Rothenberg’s anthology Technicians of the Sacred

Many songs and chants here that are fun to act out with children of all ages, especially:

“All Sings, All Dances, & All is Loud” from the Gabon Pygmy

“War God’s Horse Song I” from the Navajo


Lewis Carroll


“You are Old Father William”

“The Walrus and the Carpenter”

I suppose he’d be on everyone’s list.


Edward Lear

The Book of Nonsense

What’s not to love about a limerick, preferably accompanied by Lear’s brilliant goofball drawings? Help save the limerick from x-ratings and read Lear.


T.S. Eliot, “The Song of the Jellicles”

Preferably read while dancing.


William Blake, “The Tyger”

No child is too young for the metaphysical, 1.


Elizabeth Bishop

“The Fish”

For richness of image, empathy with the animal world and awakening of the moral imagination.


Emily Dickinson 

“A narrow Fellow in the Grass” (1096)

No child is too young for the metaphysical, 2.


Carol Ann Duffy, The World’s Wife

Irreverent, inventive and brilliant revisions of classic and not-so-classic tales told through a feminist eye. Mrs. Midas, Mrs. Lazarus, Queen Kong, Frau Freud, The Devils’ Wife, Mrs. Darwin. Each has a say. Recommended for the teenager who thinks she’s heard it all.

Created on: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Arizona Board of Regents