The first Children's Poet Laureate

Congratulations to Jack Prelutsky, named tonight by the Poetry Foundation as the first U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. The position carries a $25,000 reward, and is intended to raise public awareness of poetry for children. Prelutsky, in my view, was a great choice for the award for his many years of writing genuine poetry. His book of haiku, If Not for the Cat, remains one of my all-time favorites, and his most recent book, Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant is ingenious and fun. In a time when too many poets write what I call “purposeful poetry,” i.e. poetry intended to teach something or fill a curriculum niche, Prelutsky continues to twist the language so it surprises and delights.

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