Eve Merriam, NCTE Award-winning poet
Introduction: Eve Merriam won the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1981. She has written many books for children. The poem I have selected to share is taken from, A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-winning Poets. To prepare the students for the imagery in the poem, bring an apple and orange to show them as a way to access prior knowledge about terms such as core, seeds, rind and pit.
HOW TO EAT A POEM
Don't be polite.
Pick it up with your fingers
and lick the juice
that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now,
whenever you are.
You do not need a knife
For there is no core
to throw away.
Cullinan, Bernice, editor. 1996. "Hot to Eat a Poem" from A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets. Pennsylvania: Wordsong, p.34. ISBN-13: 978-1-56397-087-0
Extension: Read this poem again and have the children use hand motions to act out "eating the poem." Ask the children to talk about how hearing this poem and acting out this poem makes them feel. Invite students to write their own poem describing a similar action, such as how to eat a taco or how to eat spaghetti. See what kind of words students use to describe something as typical as eating. Have students share their poems.
Books by Eve Merriam:
Chortles: New and Selected Wordplay Poems. Illus. Sheila Hamanaka. Morrow, 1989.
It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme. Antheneum, 1964.
Poem for a Pickle: Funnybone Verses. Illus. Sheila Hamanaka. Morrow. 1989.
You be Good and I'll be Night: Jump-on-the-Bed Poems. Illus. Karen Lee Schmidt. Morrow. 1988.