Reading & Literacy

New Resource Lets Students Write Letters to Poets, and Maybe Get a Response

By Anthony Rebora — February 24, 2015 1 min read
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National Poetry Month isn’t until April, but the American Academy of Poets is getting a head start this year. (And why not? Classrooms deserve a little poetic license, so to speak.) The organization has launched a new NPM multimedia feature called “Dear Poet,” in which students can watch videos of prominent poets reading their poems and then write letters to the authors in response.

The feature is accompanied by a full lesson plan (designed to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards) that focuses on poetic voice and responding in writing to poems. The lesson is geared to middle and high school students, but the curriculum writer says it is adaptable to younger grades.

Student letters submitted by April 30, 2015 will be considered for publication on the academy’s website. The featured poets will also respond to selected letters of their own choosing. (No word on exactly how many letters they will respond to—poets don’t like to be pinned down, of course.)

The poets participating in the project include Edward Hirsch, Arthur Sze, and Jane Hirshfield. Here’s Naomi Shihab Nye’s nice contribution, in which she reads a poem she says she wrote in response to a question she often gets when visiting classrooms:

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