April is National Poetry Month, and beautiful verses are popping up everywhere. Many noted authors have also written poems, which are often much lesser known--and therefore more scarce. These volumes are lovely additions to an author-specific or poetry collection.
John Updike is best known for his Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom novel series, two of which won Pulitzer Prizes. Thanks to his prose style, Updike also earned a reputation as a great American writer of the twentieth century. But Updike has also penned plenty of poetry. A Child's Calendar, for instance, includes a poem for each month of the year along with illustrations.
Italian philosopher, semiotician, and novelist Umberto Eco made his name with novels like The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. But Eco's second book, published under the pseudonym "Dedalus," was a book of cartoons and poems called Filosofi In Libertà. Eco's verses about philosophers like Aristotle, Kant, and Marx are accompanied by his own illustrations.
Nobel laureate Herman Hesse is famous for novels that explore the search for self-knowledge and spirituality. His Crisis: Pages from a Diary, written during the same period as Steppenwolf, was originally published in 1928. Hesse said the verses deal with the "misery and despair of sensual life," and he felt so exposed by the poems that he didn't republish most of them during his lifetime.
A prolific writer of politics and biography, Jimmy Carter also has the distinction of being the only American president to publish a book of poetry. Always a Reckoning contains poetry about President Carter's childhood, family, and political career and includes illustrations from his granddaughter.
Who would expect a work of poetry from a thriller writer--especially poetry for children? Dean Koontz delivers just that in Santa's Twin and its sequel Robot Santa. Koontz uses rhymed verse to tell these hilarious tales. These books are a new twist on Clement Clarke Moore's classic Night before Christmas.