“The Genre Chant” [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

The Journal of Children’s Literature has one of my poems in it in the spring 2017 edition. I initially wrote this poem to open a chapter on children’s literature genres in Terrell Young’s book, Children’s Literature, Briefly. Well, not JUST his book, but he’s the fabulous educator who asked children’s poets to write poems to open each chapter!

Anyway, happy to see the poem here:

Genre Chant

Ooh, I forgot that it’s in Heart of a Teacher , too! Here’s the poem in readable size:

The Genre Chant

Ready to read?

What mood are you in?

Limitless choices!

Where to begin?


          (lines to crack world’s heart)

picture books

          (words, swirled with art)


          (factual–please, tell me more)

realistic fiction 

          (it’s the girl next door)

fantastic fiction

          (weird worlds–wow!)

contemporary fiction

          (it’s happening now)


          (life of one human being)

modern fantasy

          (teens and the ghosts they are seeing) 

historical fiction 

          (about a time gone by)

science fiction

          (it’s possible pi-in-the-sky)


          (passed down age upon age)

They all wait for you.

Turn the page.

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

And J. Patrick Lewis has his wonderful “Keep a Pocket in Your Poem” in the same JCL issue. Maybe I can share his poem next week! Meanwhile, for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Poetry Friday Coordinator Mary Lee at A Year of Reading!




27 Responses

  1. That’s what I get for letting my journals stack up! I didn’t know this gem was hiding in there. LOVE it!!

  2. How does one get a copy? Love this poem. It would be very useful to keep it up on a bulletin board with my students’ reading charts.

    1. I just made a mini-poster of it that I’ll share in my Salas Snippets e‑letter later this month…So glad you like the poem!

  3. You’ve covered them all, Laura! What a tribute to reading and congratulations on all the sharing of it in publications. That will reach so many!

  4. This is going up in my library, pronto! I love it. I think I will put the text on a book mark with coloring patterns on the back. Color your own bookmarks have been super popular this year and easy to make! Laura, I think I learn something from you daily. Thank you!

  5. Laura, love your poem–and Terrell! I had the honor of serving on the NCTE Poetry Committee with him for three years.

    1. Thanks, Jane–I created a mini-poster of it and will be sending it out with my monthly eletter for educators later this month…

  6. Oh, this poem is just a dance and I want to hug it, and all of the choices I have now to read. This would make a great classroom or library poster!

  7. I love it! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  8. Congratulations, and wow! What a winner that is. I have a list of folks to share it with! It also makes a fun reading list for all of us, to broaden our horizons and read beyond our usual walls. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I just created a mini-poster of it this morning. Going to share it with educators in my e‑letter later this month:>)

    1. Thanks–I’m glad Terry asked me to write something for it. Never would have thought of the topic on my own:>)

  9. What fun! I especially love “Poetry (lines to crack the world’s heart)” 🙂 I’m printing this out now to share in September. Thank you!

  10. It reads like an ode by a true reader, celebrating the imagination space, like the reading rug of the mind, where we gather our best selves as we read. I remember myself as I read Harry Potter for the first time. I wish I could feel that way again. 🙂

  11. Laura, your poem is going to make a great poster for teachers. I would like to share it with the grad students I will be working with later this month.

  12. This is terrific, Laura. No wonder it’s been published several times. Congratulations! And having it in poster form sounds like a marvelous idea.

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