Humanities Texas has assembled a list of poetry-related online educational resources for K-12 classrooms. These websites include texts of poems as well as lesson plans, videos, and other interactive elements that will and enhance classroom instruction and generate student interest in poetry.
Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets, features poems by a variety of contemporary and canonical poets and offers extensive resources for educators, including individual biographies, a YouTube channel, and weekly “Teach This Poem” units of study designed for K-12 students. Teachers may subscribe to the “Poem-A-Day” email or choose to implement the suggested programming for National Poetry Month, “the largest literary celebration in the world.” Dear Poet, a National Poetry Month feature, encourages fifth- through twelfth-grade students to write letters that react to poems by award-winning poets, along with a lesson plan to use Dear Poet in the classroom. In April 2020, the Academy is highlighting works that emphasize “courage, solace, and actionable energy” through the “Shelter in Poems” initiative.
Browse poems by author, topic, or form on the Poetry Foundation’s website and mobile app. In addition to texts and videos, teachers may find helpful the Poetry Foundation’s Learning Lab, which features articles by and about classic and contemporary poets for readers and educators, resources for parents of children ages 0-12, and poems, and articles for teens ages 13-18 . Other highlights include podcasts, the children’s “Poem of the Day,” and a glossary of poetic terms. Naomi Shihab Nye, now a longtime resident of San Antonio, is the Young People’s Poet Laureate through 2021.
The Library of Congress has a guide to the poetry-specific resources of their exhibitions and digital collections as well as other online features, including Abraham Lincoln and poetry, poetry written by U.S. presidents, Walt Whitman archival materials, and poetry written in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
The Library of Congress Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature contains recordings of the world’s most celebrated poets reading from their work, including Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Frost, and Alice Walker.
The “Poetry of America” initiative includes selected essays, interviews, field recordings, and commentary that can help students think about such essential aspects of the American experience as immigration and migration, work and industry, social change, and peace and war.
The Library of Congress’s U.S. Poet Laureate Consultants encourage greater national interest in the reading and writing of poetry, with several of their recent projects featured online. Current Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the first Native American writer to hold the position, and the Library of Congress offers a web guide to her work. Student writers contributed to former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s project La Casa de Colores. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins’s Poetry 180 features poems specifically chosen for high school students, one for each day of school year.
PBS offers several online, poetry-specific features that complement its renowned public television programming. The NewsHour website, including the segment “Where Poetry Lives,” consistently showcases both established and up-and-coming poets whose work speaks to milestones in American history as well as political and cultural issues of the moment. “Poetry Everywhere” hosts numerous videos of acclaimed poets reading from their work as well as student-developed, creative animated videos of classic and contemporary poems.
The immensely popular Poetry Out Loud program promotes student engagement with poetry through memorization and recitation. Every year, participating students compete at the classroom, school-wide, regional, and national levels. Resources for educators include teaching resources, lesson plans, an online anthology, and videos of student performances.
Emmy Perez is the current Texas Poet Laureate, one of several Texas State Artists reflecting the state’s diversity and representing the best of Texas’s literary, visual, and musical forms. A list of previous Texas Poet Laureates, dating back to 1932, can be found on the website of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.