Arthur Wiki
"I'm a Poet"
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 he announces the poetry contest at the library and remarks 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 the day after 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 to read a poem they like, and then 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 says he is already done. When he goes to Fern's house to ask for help, Arthur finds Buster already there. Buster says that he didn't want Arthur to know he was unable to write his poem. Fern teaches them that they have to write about what they like instead of copying someone else's poems.

The next day, at the library, 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 Prelutsky tells them that everyone is a winner. Fern says that since everyone won the bet, no one needs to join the poetry club. However, everyone wants to sign up anyway, and Francine gets a sign-up sheet. The episode finishes with Prelutsky reading another 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 is the first episode to have a guest star.
  • This is the first episode where Fern's name is mentioned
  • This episode and the next episode were encoded to work with ActiMates Arthur and D.W. on June 29, 1998.

Differences from the book

  • In Arthur's poem, the ape's name is Jimmy, but in the chapter book based on the episode, the ape's name is Joey.
  • In the chapter book, D.W. is the one who gives Arthur the idea how to write a poem about an ape after she heard a story about an ape on the news, while in the episode, Arthur came up with the poem on his own.

Cultural references

  • Poet Jack Prelutsky was the first celebrity to voice themself on Arthur. Unlike later guest stars, he looks more like a regular character (an anthropomorphic animal) than his human self.
  • 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.

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