I love teaching poetry. There is something beautiful about the structure and the word choice that portray the exact image and message the poet intended. From Sonnets to Blackout Poetry, having students read, write, and recite poetry allows them to see how to bend language in a playful way to communicate sarcasm or notice the enjambment of words to communicate “this should be read rapidly”.
Poetry is closely tied to music, and it is through music that I often hooked students into considering the magic of poetry. In fact, one of the activities I had them do was locate poetry devices in song lyrics (You can see an example here ). This activity launched them into reading & analyzing, writing, and reciting poetry.
Poetry does not have to be intimidating to students or adults. Connections can be made to music, real life, and social justice. Helping students unlock the mystery of poetry can be as simple as summarizing lines or stanzas, identifying speaker, setting, and situation, and reaffirming that while we may not know the exact intentions of the poet, there are ideas and understandings that are more correct than other ideas.
As April quickly approaches, and many will be celebrating National Poetry Month, I have created a list of some of my favorite poetry websites, resources, and apps to support teachers as they navigate the poetic sea – Enjoy!
Traditional Poetry Websites
- The Poetry Foundation – is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. It works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position in our culture. Multiple pages are connected to this website and it is a great place to start.
- Poetry 180 – Poetry 180 resides on the Library of Congress website. It is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. Hosted by former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, a perfect way to incorporate poetry daily into your classroom.
- Poets.org – Poets.org is produced by the Academy of American Poets. The site was launched in 1996, becoming the original online resource for poems, poets’ biographies, essays about poetry, and resources for K-12 teachers.
- Library of Congress Poet Laureate – The Library of Congress Poet Laureate website also resides on the Library of Congress website. Students are able to learn about the position of US Poet Laureate, about the current Poet Laureate, and their projects.
- NCTE Poetry – NCTE Poetry Resources – The National Council of Teachers of English has multiple resources for teachers who want to use poetry in their classroom. Included are interviews with Poets, books to consider adding to your collections, as well as lessons to use with students.
Nontraditional Poetry Websites
- Split This Rock – Explores and celebrates the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, considering personal and social responsibility, asserting the centrality of the right to free speech, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience through language, imagining a better world.
- Power Poetry – Power Poetry promotes a safe space where poets can share their work, as well as encouraging more growth in the organization. Power Poetry is the world’s first and largest mobile poetry community for youth. It is a one-of-a-kind place where you can be heard. “Power Poetry isn’t just about poetry: it’s about finding your voice and using it to change the world!”
- Song Meanings – In the larger tradition of poetry, there is a strong relationship to music, instrumentation, and oral culture. Textuality, bookishness, I would argue, is the reason why contemporary poets have not been able to ignite a larger following and perception of poetry. Delve into the lyrics, text, and meanings of your favorite songs and learn how poets can SING better.
- Teen Ink – National teen magazine and website devoted to helping teens share their own voices while developing reading, writing, creative and critical-thinking skills.
- Poetry Out Loud – Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.
- Poetry4Kids – The funny poetry playground of children’s author Kenn Nesbitt. You will find lots of funny poems and poetry books for children, classic children’s poetry, games, poetry lessons, and activities, plus a rhyming dictionary, videos, school visit information and lots more.
- Poetry in America – Poetry in America, created and directed by Harvard professor Elisa New, is a new public television series and multi-platform digital initiative that brings poetry into classrooms and living rooms around the world.
- Google Arts and Culture – Explore collections and exhibits all about Poets and Poetry on the Google Arts and Culture website. Google Arts and Culture allows students to explore collections from around the world – a perfect primary source.
- Glossary of Poetry Terms – A website that is part of the Poetry Foundation and is a comprehensive glossary of poetic terms, theories, and schools of poetry. A perfect Reference tool for all your budding Poets.
National Poetry Month Resources
- National Poetry Month – National Poetry Month each April is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.
- Dear Poet Project – a multimedia education project inviting young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets
- Poem in Your Pocket – April 18th is Poem in Your Pocket Day, part of National Poetry Month. Share your poem with everyone you meet. During the day, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem
Unique Poetry Resources and Apps
- Bot or Not – When AI (Artificial Intelligence) meets poetry you have Bot or Not. A fun game that tests your identification skills to decide if the poem in question was written by a human or by a computer.
- Poetry Machine – Students can create an original poem on this website using one of the 48 templates listed. Everything from acrostic and haikus to animal poems; there is something for all young poets.
- Instant Poetry 2 – Poetry 2 is an iOS app the reminds me of magnetic poetry. Create your own poem with images and drag and drop words. Upload your own image to use, or refresh to get a list of new words. Write and share poetry with anyone!
- Rhyme Zone – A website that allows students to search for rhymes, synonyms, and definitions. Perfect for poetry and writing lyrics.
Poemix– Remix text into simple poetry. Source of text can be anything from your favorite book to tweets. Fun and simple to use.
- Mesostic Poem Generator – Type in your name and a short bio and this program will create a
mesosticpoem for you. It is similar to an acrostic, but with the vertical phrase intersecting the middle of the line, as opposed to beginning each new line.
- Poem Generator – Poem Generator allows students to choose the structure, enter words based on prompts and parts of speech and the website does the rest. With 14 structures to choose from, students can have fun exploring and writing.
- Blackout Bard – Blackout Bard is a free mobile app that parallels blackout poetry in a digital form. Students can choose a block of text, blackout words, and style the remaining ones to create and share a poem.
- Facing History and Ourselves – Facing History and Ourselves Poetry Section can help students explore and connect with issues of identity, group membership, and belonging, as well as provide models and inspiration for how they might tell their own stories.
Have I forgot to list any of your favorite resources, websites, apps for Poetry? Be sure to comment below and remember to share your National Poetry Activities that your students are doing this year.