Shel Silverstein: “Every Thing On It”

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I heard a segment on NPR about Shel Silverstein, a poet who I adored when I was a kid.

Shel started out with “The Giving Tree,” which many of you may remember fondly, and then moved into humorous poetry. Many kids, teenagers, and even adults don’t like or appreciate poetry, but Shel used humor and some silliness to entertain everyone with his poems. While some might see his work as “for kids,” I think we could all agree that everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy it.

His most recent collection has actually been built by his family, who went through 1,500 of his remaining poems to choose the 145 for “Every Thing On It.”

My favorite poem, on NPR’s website, is called “Italian Food.” I’ve posted it below.

I still love Shel Silverstein’s work because I find it inspiring when I can just giggle at it, enjoy it for what it is, and then still see some deeper meaning that only adults may pick up.


What do you guys think? Do you like Shel Silverstein’s work? Was it a a part of your childhood as it was a part of mine?


Italian Food

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.


Link to the NPR article and interview with Mitch Myers, Shel’s nephew:


2 thoughts on “Shel Silverstein: “Every Thing On It”

  1. As a kid, I missed out on Shel. I didn’t learn of him until I was in my early 20s and my 5 year old nephew brought a copy of “The Giving Tree” home from school. (His teacher had read it to them and he so loved the story that he asked to borrow it so he could copy it out by hand.) From then on, I was hooked. Shel (like another fine author, Sir Terry Pratchett) is a gentle and humorous teacher.

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