April is National Poetry Month and we’ll be posting here, on facebook, twitter and Instagram all month with links, poems, prompts and more. To kick off, here’s a few ideas for things you can do to celebrate, and some favorite (short) poem selections by some our Writers’ Program staff.

The little fish eats the tiny fish,
The big fish eats the little fish—
So only the biggest fish gets fat.
Do you know any folks like that?

Shel Silverstein – FISH?

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.

Dorothy Parker – Comment

They’ve put a brassiere on a camel,
She wasn’t dressed proper, you know.
They’ve put a brassiere on a camel,
So that her humps wouldn’t show.
And they’re making other respectable plans,
They’re even insisting the pigs should wear pants,
They’ll dress up the ducks if we give them the chance
Since they’ve put a brassiere on a camel.
They’ve put a brassiere on a camel,
They claim she’s more decent that way.
They’ve put a brassiere on a camel,
The camel had nothing to say.
They squeezed her into it, i’ll never know how,
They say that she looks more respectable now,
Lord knows what they’ve got in mind for the cow,
Since they’ve put a brassiere on a camel.

Shel Silverstein – They’ve Put A Brassiere On A Camel

If in my quest 2 achieve my goals
I stumble or crumble and lose my soul
Those that knew me would easily co-sign
There was never a life as hard as mine
No father – no money – no chance and no guide
I only follow my voice inside
If it guides me wrong and I do not win
I’ll learn from mistakes and try 2 achieve again.

Tupac Shakur – If I Fail

She charges her ankle bracelet // from the kitchen chair
& Sunflowers in the white wallpaper [begin to wilt].
I wilt with them // before my sister // & her probation
Officer [who comes over to the house unannounced].
Just as we are // preparing dinner // & what are we supposed to
Do now. Cook for him?! Invite him to eat with us??

Christopher Soto – [Somewhere in Los Angeles] This Poem Is Needed

Has no one said those daring
Kind eyes should be more learn’d?
Or warned you how despairing
The moths are when they are burned?
I could have warned you; but you are young,
So we speak a different tongue.
O you will take whatever’s offered
And dream that all the world’s a friend,
Suffer as your mother suffered,
Be as broken in the end.
But I am old and you are young,
And I speak a barbarous tongue.

William Butler Yeats – Two Years Later

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

William Carlos Williams – The Red Wheelbarrow

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Robert Herrick – To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

Dr. Seuss – Oh The Places You’ll Go





Bree is the Assistant to the Director and Social Media Coordinator. You can email her at btodish@uclaextension.edu.

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