Children and Poetry

Summer 2007

English 529, Hollins University

T/Th 2-5, Swannanoa 209


SCHEDULE Course Description Required Texts Course Requirements Research Resources


Professor: Tina Hanlon (Dr. Bettina L.)                                                

Phone this term:  (362-6365 in Duchouquet A) 

Office Hours: Tues., Wed., Thurs., 10-12

And by appointment

In Swannanoa 305, phone 6379


Permanent e-mail:                             

Ferrum phone/voice mail:  (540) 365-4327                    

Professor for Second Half of Term: Morag Styles
(starting July 10)
Phone this term:  (362-6365 in  in Duchouquet A)
Office Swannanoa 305, phone 6379

Homerton College, Cambridge, UK

Permanent e-mail:

Course Description

This course will examine the history of poetry for children in Britain and America from oral traditions of earlier centuries to poets of the present day. In the first three weeks of the course, we will cover aspects of the oral tradition, including a wide range of nursery verse (nursery rhymes, counting rhymes, finger rhymes, nonsense), ballads, folk songs (including Appalachian texts), and pictorial versions of nursery verse. As well as considering a wide range of oral texts with a long history, we will also take account of contemporary adaptations. In the second phase of the course, we will explore the history of poetry for children, making links with the oral tradition where relevant. We will then turn our attention to contemporary poetry for children by considering some of the most highly regarded and/or popular American and British poets. We will examine the poetry in the context of the time in which it was produced and take account of how changing representations of childhood are embedded within the texts. There will also be opportunities for students to write and perform their own poetry.

Required Texts

Styles, Morag. From the Garden to the Street: 300 Years of Poetry for Children. London: Cassell, 1998.  

Opie, Iona and Peter, eds. I Saw Esau. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1992.

Dahl, Roald. Revolting Rhymes. Illus. Quentin Blake.

Sendak, Maurice. Nutshell Library.

Still, James. An Appalachian Mother Goose. Illus. Paul Brett Johnson. KY:  Kentucky UP, 1998.

Yolen, Jane. The Ballad of the Pirate Queens. Illus. David Shannon.

Other required texts for Morag Styles' classes in weeks 4-6:

Patten, Brian, ed. Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry

Rossetti, Christina. Sing-Song

Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885

Other readings will be in books on reserve in the Hollins U. library or on handouts or Web sites. As of 6/17/07, the reserve books are listed under Styles if you search online by name of author.

Course Requirements

Research Resources