Thinking Ahead: National Poetry Month

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Line from 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

National Poetry Month

I know it’s only January, but soon it will be April and National Poetry Month! It’s my favorite time of year for myself and for writing.

As I’ve written previously, poetry has stood at my side throughout my life, in many ways:

  • in thankfulness for every day of life with my family in the beauty of the world despite the problems in the world
  • in the lyrics of songs that inspire me
  • in the poems written by my husband
  • in the words of the people around me: family, students, strangers
  • in the #smallpoems written on Twitter by friends and more [join in 🙂 ]
  • in the FB Sunday’s poetry call by my friend and former school nurse, Betsy

Poetry is not my gift, but I appreciate the gifts of others. How do we share this appreciation?

Poetry Invitations

Inviting others to enjoy reading or writing poetry starts with the passion in knowing that poetry comes from the heart and expresses the emotions and images important to those writing through their heartfelt experiences, be they the everyday or the extraordinary events of our lives. The links below are invitations to find poems that touch your heart and perusing them now will help you prepare for April and your own and your students’ engagement with poetry:

Poetry in the Classroom

I highly recommend Georgia Heard’s Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School [or at Heinemann ]- the strategies invite students to connect personally with words and images of others that connect with their lives, and to discover the ways they, too, can express their own world through the words and phrases they choose. Discovering and writing poetry in this way inspires better writers in all genre. My own course work for the course provides the ways in which these strategies inspired my students to write from the heart about the everyday, be it a sunrise or new puppy, a sadness or joy.

And, Naming the World A Year of Poems and Lessons By Nancie Atwell was an awesome full year’s worth of marvelous poetry to which students began to see the author’s choices in creating the emotional and visual experience for others. Students soon found themselves noticing their own better choices.

In addition to the strategies in the above links, Margaret Gibson Simon’s newest endeavor, This Photo Wants To Be a Poem invites sharing and working together on strategies for choosing those words and phrases that a photograph inspires. Margaret shares one such strategy in her January 26 post, Riches.

Get Ahead or Start Today

I encourage you to begin your journey with poetry by reviewing the resources here — and add more in the comments below to help us all. A poem a day, read or written, inspires the spirit, and promotes clearer and more interesting and engaging writing.

Thank you

Thank you to the Academy of Poets, Margaret Simon, Georgia Heard, and the Edublogger for their passion for poetry that inspires others. And to Pernille Ripp and her tweet asking for poetry invitations– take a look at the inspiring ideas in the responses:

Writing is hard fun. Donald Murray
On the wall in my classroom