Learning a new language doesn't just have to mean studying grammar and memorizing lists of vocabulary. There are many fun ways in which you can learn, and poems are one of them.
Rhymes in poems can make it easier to remember new words and structures, and they can also help you with your pronunciation. Not only that, but studying poems in Spanish will give you a peek into Spanish speaking culture.
If you like the idea of using poems to learn Spanish, the following selection is a great place to start.
La plaza tiene una torre,
Ha pasado un caballero,
The plaza has a tower
A gentleman has walked by,
This poem was written by Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who was born in Seville in 1875 and passed away in France in 1939. Machado is one of Spain's greatest poets, and he lived through some of Spain's most tumultuous times, having experienced both the authoritarian rule of Primo de Rivera and the Spanish Civil War.
Cultivo una rosa blanca
Y para el cruel que me arranca
I grow a white rose
And for the cruel one who tears from me
This short poem was written by Cuban poet José Martí, a leading figure in not just Cuban, but Latin American literature who lived during the second half of the 19th century. He is considered one of the fathers of Cuban independence from Spain, and many of his poems deal with topics such as freedom and democracy.
Todo es muy simple mucho
Everything is so simple so
Uruguayan poet Idea Vilariño wrote this poem in 1962. Vilariño is one of the most recognized names in Uruguayan poetry, and she also forged an illustrious career in translation, having translated many of Shakespeare's works into Spanish.
Federico García Lorca, who wrote this poem, is one of the most outstanding figures in Spanish poetry. Among his many poems, were some songs for children like the one above. Unfortunately, García Lorca, who was born in Granada, Spain in 1898, suffered an untimely death at the age of 38 when he is believed to have been assassinated by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War.
Hay tanta soledad en ese oro.
There is so much loneliness in that gold.
This short poem was written by Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges, one of the biggest names in Spanish language literature, and dedicated to Maria Kodama, his widow. Borges lived through most of the 20th century and isn't known just for his poetry, but also for his short stories, essays and translations.
Creció en mi frente un árbol,
In my forehead grew a tree,
Come closer, can you hear it?
This poem was written by Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet who lived during the 20th century. Having won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, he is, without doubt, one of the most respected Spanish-speaking poets of the past century.
The six poems above are meant to help you learn Spanish, but they are also meant to help you see that you don't need to be a fluent Spanish speaker to enjoy the works of some of the greats of Spanish language literature.
As is often said, learning a language is about learning a new culture, and what better way to do that than through literature? Keep learning and keep reading more!