What is your favorite poem? That is the question students from two fifth-grade classes at a New York grade school asked famous people to whom they had written. Their idea, the students explained, was to put together a book that would benefit the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. The students were also studying poems in class and wanted to know if anybody still, in fact, read and gained insight from poetry. Touched by this appeal to their hearts, minds, and memories, fifty celebrities responded to their inquiries, including Geraldine Ferraro, Allen Ginsberg, Rudi Giuliani, Peter Jennings, Angela Lansbury, Yo-Yo Ma, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Sawyer, Ally Sheedy, Kurt Vonnegut, and Tom Wolfe. The poems they offer range from John Donne to Langston Hughes, but their letters all express hope that the students—and readers of this wonderful gift book—will read and take inspiration from the poetry of past and present.
“Of all the words that have stuck to the ribs of my soul, poetry has been the most filling,” writes Anna Quindlen in her introduction, and this beautiful, inspiring collection of poetry is the perfect expression of how poets can influence and shape our lives.