c.2024, Various publishers
Various page counts

On your hands, you have lots of time.

You can make a song, you can make a rhyme. Make a long story, make a short one, write what you like, make it simple and fun. Writing poetry uses your imagination: you play with words, paint a picture, there’s no intimidation. Creating poetry can be a breeze, or just reach for and read books exactly like these 鈥

Picture books for the littles are a great way to introduce your 3-to-7-year-old to poetry because simple stories lend themselves to gentle rhymes and lessons. “See You on the Other Side” by Rachel Montez Minor, illustrated by Mariyah Rahman (Crown, $18.99) is a rhyming book about love and loss, but it’s not as sad as you might think.

In this book, several young children learn that losing someone beloved is not a forever thing, that its very sad but it’s not scary because their loved one is always just a thought away. Young readers who’ve recently experienced the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend will be comforted by the rhyme here, but don’t dismiss the words as kiddishness: adults who’ve recently lost a loved one will find helpful, comforting words here, too.

Flitting from here to there and back again, author Alice Notley moves through phases of her life, locations, and her diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in her latest poetry collection, “Being Reflected Upon” (Penguin, $20). From 2000 to 2017, Notley lived in Paris where she completed her wrestle with breast cancer. That, and her life abroad, are reflected in the poetry here; she also takes readers on a poetic journey on other adventures and to other places she lived and visited. This book has a random feel that entices readers to skip around and dive in anywhere. Fans of Notley will appreciate her new-age approach to her works; new fans will enjoy digging into her thoughts and visions through poems. Bonus: at least one of the poems may make you laugh.

If you’re a reader who’s willing to look into the future, “Colorfast” by Rose McLarney (Penguin, $20) will be a book you’ll return to time and again. This, the author’s fourth collection, is filled with vivid poems of graying and fading, but also of bright shades, small things, women’s lives yesterday and today, McLarney’s Southern childhood, and the things she recalls about her childhood. The poems inside this book are like sitting on a front porch on a wooden rocking chair: they’re comfortable, inviting, and they tell a story that readers will love discovering.

If these books aren’t enough, or if you’re looking for something different, silly or classic, then head to your favorite bookstore or library. The ladies and gentlemen there will help you figure out exactly what you need, and they can introduce you to the kind of poetry that makes you laugh, makes you cry, entices a child, inspires you, gives you comfort, or makes you want to write your own poems. Isn’t it time to enjoy a rhyme?

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