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World Famous Poets for Kids: Behind the Words

Follow along with our blog to help educate your child about world famous poets like Emily Dickenson, Baltimore native Edgar Allen Poe and more!National Poetry Month At Home Play Tips

For National Poetry Month Port Discovery Children's Museum is looking back at famous American Poets and their messages of fear, greatness, unity, and hope.  We encourage our Fans of Play to learn about the poets listed below together and then write their own poem! Share yours with us @portdiscovery! 

Emily Dickenson

Emily Dickenson was born and raised in New England, where she dreamed of becoming a recognized poet. While Emily only managed to publish two poems in her lifetime, her collection of poems written throughout her life is read across the world today.

Poem #1

The poem named “Nobody” is considered one of Emily’s most popular poems. During her later years, Emily often used her work to express feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is best described through this work.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog -
To tell one’s name – the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog!

Poem #2

The Poem titled “Hope is the thing with Feathers” is another popular work. While Emily often expressed her grief and loneliness, she also discussed her joy and optimism towards both the world and the people surrounding her.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was a poet who discussed both the beauty of nature and the feelings of conflict, grief, and unity in his works. His popularity came from a time of uncertainty and fear during and his rallying cry gave many people hope after losing President Abraham Lincoln.

Poem #1

Whitman used his poem “I hear America Singing” to appeal to a divided country through praising Americans and their work, rather than the background or personal views of the individuals.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work

Poem #2

After losing President Abraham Lincoln, Whitman published his poem “O Captain! My Captain!”  The poem not only conveyed the sorrow for the loss, but an appreciation for all President Lincoln had done for his country.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won

Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe a Baltimore native who was known for his scary stories and poetry. Poe used his poetry to discuss grief, love, and loneliness.

Poe wrote the poem “Alone” as a young adult to convey his isolation and lack of confidence during his childhood.

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were—I have not seen

As others saw—I could not bring

My passions from a common spring—

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow—I could not awaken


During unprecedented times like these, we often rely on the people who came before us and have survived similar struggles. Poets have used their writing to express positive we encourage that families and children use the different forms to inspire their own poetry.


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