Poetry Friday: The Empire State Building

October 22nd, 2010

“One genre that is sometimes overlooked for nonfiction, but should definitely not be forgotten, is poetry,” write Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli in their recent book Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Teaching Informational Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-8. Poetry is a “wonderful vehicle to deliver information with a powerful voice,” they argue. One example they cite is J. Patrick Lewis’ collection of Monumental Verses – a book of poems about timeless monuments. This poetry Friday we offer you one of his poems, “Empire State Building.” Enjoy!

Empire State Building
J. Patrick Lewis

I am an American boy, standing up to the world.
I sleep the city sleeps. We dream
     the riveter’s dream, held island-fast.
I wake to taxi alarms.
I am a 102-stop elevator ride to heaven.
I am ten million bricks of unshakable faith.
I capture imagination at its peak.
I hugged King Kong, he hugged me back.
I look down on Broadway for a work of art,
     the Fulton Fish Market for a slice of life,
     United Nations Headquarters for a little peace.
It’s lonely up here without my twin brothers,
     the World Trade Center Towers.
Wait here on my doorstep, Central Park,
     while I look over Harlem.
I am an American boy, face to face with the world.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. laurasalas  |  October 27th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I LOVE a mash-up of poetry and nonfiction. It’s actually my very favorite kind of poetry. This is a beautiful poem by Pat (master of every kind of poetry!)–a great mask poem with so much figurative language. “I am ten million bricks of unshakable faith.” Sigh.

    Thanks for sharing this poem (and terrific book).

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