U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis has a couple of new books that I just read, and today I’m sharing a poem from one of them, Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). Each poem is a remake or spoof of a classic poem by a well-known poet, like Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe. Aaaaaand, each poem contains a word problem! Is that a fantastic concept, or what?
Kids tired of trying to decipher the “meaning” of a poem will be happy to?find concrete answers here. Just solve the math problem contained in each one. It’s sure to distract your English teacher:>) And the answers are given after each poem, not within it. How fun it would be to come into math class, read the poem, and try to solve the problem.
I think the book will have even more appeal to secondary teachers who want to share classic poems and contemporary updates of them. And then want to set their kids loose to spoof a classic poem of their own.
Here’s one of my favorites from the collection, and here’s the original John Ciardi poem it’s based on. And illustrator Michael Slack (did I mention how fun the art is?) shares the spread containing this poem here.
John Ciardi’s Shark Dentist
Inspired by “About the Teeth of Sharks” by John Ciardi
The thing about a shark is–teeth,
Said shark expert my brother Keith.
To study sharks, he happily
Set sail to greet them out at sea.
Keith counted the first pointed row–
Eight hundred twelve! Four rows to go.
If each of those had half as many.
How many teeth would equal plenty?
Before Keith finished adding, he
Was swallowed by shark dentistry.
–J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved
Irene Latham at Live Your Poem (whose beautiful novel Leaving Gee’s Bend I finally read) has the Poetry Friday Roundup today!