The Unique Technique of Shell Silverstein

Topics: Poetry, Shel Silverstein, Humor Pages: 4 (1388 words) Published: November 9, 2008
The Unique Technique of Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is best known for his collection of children’s poetry in both “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” and “A Light in the Attic.” He is also known for his classic children’s story “The Giving Tree” which raises many questions on the message of kindness and generosity that it sends to children who read the story (Spitz). Although some people may have a bias opinion towards Silverstein and his very simple yet appealing poetry, he still lives on as an honorable poet and author. The excellence of Shel Silverstein’s writing is not only portrayed through his clever lines and stanzas, but also by the simple technique and humor that he utilizes in his works.

Silverstein’s technique of poetry is like that of a fourth grader, yet thus is the basis of its appeal (Kimmel). He rarely ventures to write a free verse or blank verse except maybe when narrating a story or his seldom use of large vocabulary. His poetry is therefore committed to traditional language, rhyme, and proper stanza format. His rhymes tend to be imperfect and rough. Using the –ing and –tion words, he tends to make his less-than-perfect poetry quite straightforward and easy (“Weirdness” 2). His poetry shows familiarity between sound and subject that appeal to the senses when read aloud. The words and phrases Silverstein uses are not overused, but are precise and memorable to the reader (Maslow 3). Moreover it’s not only the technique of Silverstein’s writing that makes it so unique and enjoyable to read, but it is the humor that he demonstrates throughout his poems. Silverstein provides a wide range of humor in his poetry for both children and adults to understand and enjoy. He uses black and white illustrations to provide a vivid image of the poem that helps children read and interpret the illustration and poem together. There is no hidden message embedded in Silverstein’s poetry, rather the meanings are evident initially from the start of...
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