Why Kwame Alexander's Solo is Perfect for National Poetry Month

Posted by Jolene Barto on

Ah, National Poetry Month. Remember when poetry was lame?

Yeah, me neither.

I’ll fully admit that I am a total and complete and hopeless nerd. The fact of the matter is that I have always loved poetry. One of the first things I remember memorizing as a kiddo was: 1) Psalm 23 and 2) A Shel Silverstein poem. If you were a child of the 90s, a young woman and/or teenager, and you hadn’t at least heard of Jewel’s A Night Without Armor poetry collection, you were obviously living in another dimension and my angsty thirteen year-old self wouldn’t be able to relate to your existence. Nerd alert Later in life, I became obsessed with Margaret Atwood’s blade-sharp poems, Robert Frost’s timeless verses, Nikki Giovanni’s rhythmic work, and I will still straight-up argue with you which Rilke translation is the best. So, yes, we’ve established I’m a nerd, but the fact is that poetry totally and completely rocks. And it’s totally seeing a resurgence in popularity. Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey was an international bestseller. Bookstagram is full of poets on the rise who are pairing amazing photography with some jaw-dropping poetry. Basically, we are in a golden age of poetry and I am here for that.

Also, get your flippin’ party hats on, because April is National Poetry Month.

Cue the confetti, cut the cake and get ready for some sweet stanzas.

One book I’ve been totally crushing on lately is Kwame Alexander’s Solo.

If you haven’t read Kwame Alexander before, let me just tell you that A) You should get on that immediately and B) It’s a glorious literary adventure. Solo dives into the story of Blade Morrison, the 17 year-old son of a famous rock star who is seeking to navigate the ins-and-outs of school, his own identity, his relationship with his dad, and ~*cheating girlfriends*~. Oh! And there's a trip to Ghana! It’s all the angst that you need in a good story, but with some sweet rhythmic prose-poetry. Kwame Alexander, National Poetry Month For example of the beautiful epicness that is Solo, feast your eyes on this sweet verse:

Rock and Roll, Blade, my father whispers hugging me with breath that smells like the devil’s mouthwash

And then this lovely imagery:

I wave at the children and still feel like I’m floating through a web of dreams, pulling strands of spider silk away from the past, so I can step into the here the now.

And if you want to grace your ears with true delight, get the audiobook for Solo and hear the king of prose-poetry himself take you Blade’s journey: Kwame narrates the Solo audiobook and Randy Preston rocks out with some soul-feeding music that interjects throughout the book. It’s like… a National Poetry Month experience all to itself. So remember: poetry is super cool, this is the month to especially celebrate it, and if you ever need to be reassured of this, feel free to hop in your time-traveling Delorian and visit the thirteen year-old version of me and she’ll make sure you feel super, super cool.

Question: Give me your list: what are your favorite poems or poets?

HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., operates Page Chaser, the publisher of Solo.
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