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I'm a Poet

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"I'm a Poet"
I'm a Poet Title Card.png
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 28A
Original Airdate: United States November 13, 1996[1]
Canada February 12, 1997[2]
Germany January 21, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Kevin Currie
"Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble"
"The Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club"
Read transcript

"I'm a Poet" is the first half of the twenty-eighth episode in the first season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur and the Poetry Contest.


Fern challenges everyone to enter a poetry contest judged by Jack Prelutsky, and anyone who doesn't win has to join the Poetry Club for a whole year.


Arthur begins the show by reading the poem "My Sister is a Sissy" by Jack Prelutsky, with visual examples of D.W. being scared of things.

I'm a Poet

The episode begins in Mr. Ratburn's classroom, where Mr. Ratburn announces the poetry contest at the library and that Fern is the only one who has signed up. Francine, Binky, and Rattles mock Fern for being a poet, and she gets mad and says that they're only making fun of her because they can't write poetry.

After school, Arthur and his friends argue over who can write the best poem. Fern makes a bet that they all have to write a poem by the time of the contest, which is tomorrow, and submit it, or else they have to join the poetry club for a year. The kids accept the bet.

Arthur and Buster decide that they have to read a poem they like and write one like it. They try reading Edgar Allan Poe, which they enjoy. The next day, at the cafeteria, Arthur and Buster learn that Brain and Muffy have already finished their poems. Fern reminds everyone that their poems have to be done by tomorrow.

Arthur struggles to write his poem, although Buster is already done. When he goes to Fern's house to ask for help, Arthur later learns that Buster is lying and he is already there. Fern teaches them that they have to write about what they like instead of copying someone else's poems.

Jack Prelutsky reads "Today is Very Boring" to introduce the contest. Fern goes and reads her poem, and is followed up by Francine with "Hockey Puck Headache." Binky then reads "Binky's Poem," which Fern says is "great." Buster goes up to read a poem about nauseating things. After this, Arthur runs in to read "Jimmy Goes to the City."

Everyone enjoys the poems and wants to sign up for poetry club anyways. Francine gets a sign-up sheet. The episode finishes with Prelutsky reading one of his own poems, "Jelly Fish Stew."






  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to a big splash of water.
  • This episode and the next episode were encoded to work with ActiMates Arthur and D.W. on June 29, 1998.
  • Poet Jack Prelutsky was the first celebrity who voiced himself on Arthur. Unlike later guest stars he looks more like a regular character than his human self.
  • Moral: Dont force people to like poetry for your own personal benefit.

Cultural references[edit]

  • This episode uses real-life poems by Jack Prelutsky. They are, in order, "My Sister is a Sissy," "Today is Very Boring," and "Jelly Fish Stew."
  • In the library, Buster reads "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll.
  • The line "something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse" is from "Locksley Hall" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
  • "It was the dead who groaned within" is a line from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Sleeper."
  • Arthur recites a line from "Paul Revere’s Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • Jimmy climbing the skyscraper in Arthur's poem looks a lot like the famous Empire State Building scene from the movie King Kong


  • In the intro for this episode, during the line "She screams at things with stingers, things that buzz, and things that crawl", we see D.W. eating a red Popsicle. When we see a close-up of a bug landing on it, the Popsicle turns orange.

Differences between the book and the episode[edit]

  • In the episode, Arthur reads "My Sister is a Sissy" in the opening. In the book, he recites it in class.
  • In the book, Francine saying "moon, June, spoon, tune, a loon" is followed by Arthur asking, "Will you be done soon?" She responds, "Before noon."
  • In the episode, Fern says that Binky couldn't write a poem even if he tried. In the book, she says he couldn't if his life depended on it.
  • Buster says that going to Poetry Club could be "a fate worse than death."
  • Arthur and Buster talk to Ms. Turner before reading poems in the library.
  • Arthur says that "Paul Revere's Ride" has "a good beat" that sounds like a horse galloping.
  • Arthur's poem is inspired by a news broadcast in the book, while he comes up with it on his own in the episode.
  • In the book, Arthur meets to discuss his poem with Fern at school. In the episode, he visits Fern's house.
  • The scene where Buster falls from the tree into Arthur's lap is changed to him landing next to Arthur.
  • In the book, two lines in Arthur's poem are changed. Additionally, Jimmy is renamed Joey.
    • "Jimmy made a daring escape" is changed to "So Joey decided to make a daring escape."
    • "The city's okay for a visit, but you couldn't make me live there" is changed to "The city's okay for a visit, but you wouldn't want to live there."
  • In the book, Jack Prelutsky says "You know what? I hate singling out one winner when everyone did such a terrific job. In my opinion, you all win!" In the episode, he says "I hate contests. You all won."