Reading & Literacy

Poetry Roundup: Five Interactive Resources for the Classroom

By Helen Yoshida — April 22, 2014 3 min read
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With National Poetry Month going strong, students can create and listen to poems, brush up on their poetry terms, and enjoy new work by the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry, Vijay Seshadri. Teachers can point students to blog posts on poetry as an occupation and poetry about sports.

Classroom Resources

Beginning poets can create their own haiku, limerick, cinquain, and free verse poem with Scholastic’s Poetry Idea Engine and play poetry games and puzzles such as Shel’s Matching Game or Name That Poem on Shel Silverstein’s website. Teachers can download lessons and activities, such as Teach Shel, a teaching guide that includes classroom discussion questions for six of Silverstein’s poems and is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Middle school students may find Edward Hirsch’s Huffington Post article helpful when studying poetry in the classroom. Hirsch includes definitions and examples of poetic devices like “metaphor” and “iambic pentameter.” All 10 terms are taken from his latest book A Poet’s Glossary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

In “Linear Notes: A Poetry Playlist” on the online magazine The Millions author Nick Ripatrazone argues that poetry and music intersect at the process of composition and are “linked by negotiations of melody, harmony, rhythm, proportion, and discord.” Ripatrazone’s list of 10 poets and a soundtrack they listened to when composing their collections of poems may be of interest to middle and high school students when discussing a poet’s creative process. Students can also explore the Library of Congress’s Poetry 180, which offers 180 poems appropriate for high school students selected by former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Last week, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for poetry was awarded to Vijay Seshadri for his collection, 3 Sections (Graywolf Press, 2013). He teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. His two previous collections of poetry are The Long Meadow (Graywolf Press, 2004) and Wild Kingdom (Graywolf Press, 1996). His work has been published in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the Paris Review, the Southwest Review, and The New York Times Book Review.

For further information on Seshadri’s work, educators can turn to a post on the New Yorker‘s Page Turner blog where former Poetry Editor Alice Quinn discusses Seshadri’s poem “The Disappearances.”

Golf Poetry

Leon S. White, a professor who taught probability, statistics, and mathematical programming at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management was also an avid golfer--and poet. In “Oh Caddie, My Caddie!” The New York Times sports writer Lisa D. Mickey describes White’s passion for golf and transition from social sciences into poetry. When White retired in 2006 he took a poetry class, which required him to write a poem a week and read it aloud to his class. He chose to write about the game that he has been playing for more than 30 years. The article discusses White’s 2011 collection “Golf Course of Rhymes: Links Between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages.” White blogs about golf poetry on his website and tweets at @golfpoet.

A Poet at Work

In a recent Harriet blog post on the Poetry Foundation’s website, called “Is It Work?” Patricia Lockwood adds to the debate about whether the act of writing poetry is a viable occupation. Some poets, such as traveling poet Jacqueline Suskin, are more evangelical about defending the value of the poet’s profession and exposing students to poetry. Read more about Suskin’s efforts and her “poem store” in Marlena Chertock’s Teaching Now post “Traveling Poet Brings Her Craft to Students.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.