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National Poetry Month

April 1, 2021

Happy new month

We can, and many educators do, use poetry and creative writing in their classrooms whether they teach English Language Arts or another subject. Many arts educators use poetry to enhance, dove-tail, and/or integrate into their arts subject. When Amanda Gorman recited her poem at the Presidential Inauguration in January it made a huge impression on citizens of all ages. If you’re not incorporating poetry into your arts classroom I can’t think of a better time to do so.

In recognition of National Poetry Month this post is about resources and opportunities about learning more about poetry. You may find it useful for yourself and for your students. If you have any resources please feel free to share at the bottom of this post or email me at meartsed@gmail.com and I can include them in a blog post for others to learn from.

POETRY RESOURCES

  • Tim Needles is an artist and a veteran art teacher who uses poetry in his art classroom. The article Video Poems Add Digital Literacy to Creativity and Expression was authored by Jerry Fingal for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) blog. Needles suggests places for teachers to start and tips for success in using the simplest forms of technology when making a visual poem. He also goes into ideas for connections with other subjects including STEAM ideas. “Teachers can start with simple poetry, like a haiku, and use whatever technology is available. As for images, nature is always good for visuals.” An aside, if you’re interested in technology standards ISTE is the place to look.
  • Poets.org is a website filled with resources. You can subscribe (on the front page) and receive in your email box a “poem-a-day”. Each month there is a guest editor which changes the flavor month to month. You can read the poem or listen to it being recited. At the end there is a small segment called “about this poem” which provides interesting information about the poem. Very informative.
  • The Academy of American Poets is providing their Annual Gala, this year entitled Poetry & the Creative Mind. It is normally held in person but this year, the 18th celebration, will be held virtually. You can register at no cost. The event is on April 29, 7:30, and marks the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month.
  • The Poetry Out Loud finals are held annual with each state represented by one high school student. If they’re lucky to make it through the three rounds they will each recite 3 poems that they have practiced over and over and know insider out. This year the national event will be held virtually with the semi-finals held on Sunday, May 3 and the finals on May 27. Both events will be streamlined on arts.gov.  You can learn more about the events at THIS LINK. The Poetry Out Loud site has a huge collection of poems that you can download.
  • If you’re interested in joining a group of people who are working on writing poetry consider participating in The Poetry Place. Maine Teaching Artist Brian Evans-Jones established the Poetry Place. Brian is a member of the Maine Arts Commission roster and has participated in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (now MAEPL). For several years he was involved in Maine’s Poetry Out Loud (POL) program as a judge and he worked with two of our state representatives who represented Maine in the national POL program.
  • The Poetry Foundation has numerous resources including poems that you can read, download, and listen. Check out their site for all they have to offer.

Amanda Gorman

Just after the presidential inauguration Amanda told “CBS This Morning” co-host Anthony Mason: “Poetry is a weapon. It is an instrument of social change…and poetry is one of the most political arts out there because it demands that you rupture and destabilize the language in which you’re working with. Inherently, you are pushing against the status quo. And so for me, it’s always existed in that tradition of truth-telling.”

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