World Poetry Day is recognized every year on March 21. This is the day in which UNESCO recognises the moving spirit of poetry and its transformative effect on culture. To honor World Poetry Day, take some time to read and explore writers from around the globe and bring their works into the classroom.
Durante degli Alighieri, simply called Dante, was a major Italian poet of the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. “The Art of Imitation” invites students to craft verse-narratives that mimic the character, plot, and stylistic devices of Dante, as well as Chaucer.
Alastair Reid was a Scottish poet and a scholar of South American literature. Author Naorni Shihab Nye, in “Globos = Balloons“, shares the power of translating poems using a piece from Reid.
India’s Rabindranath Tagore authored a timeless poem, “The man had no useful
work.” “Classic Connections: Aiding Literary Comprehension through Varied Liberal Arts Alliances” explores using that poem as the inspiration for dramatic interpretation.
Rose Macaulay was an English novelist and writer. “Mimesis: Grammar and the Echoing Voice” uses an example by Rose Macaulay to show how she selected her words, as all the adjectives work hard in her description.
Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. This article from English Journal used a work from Ibsen to investigate students’ attitudes about
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime. This lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org invites students into “Finding Poetry in Prose: Reading and Writing Love Poems“.
What are your plans for celebrating World Poetry Day?
Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world! It’s a time when millions of readers mark poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives. NCTE is proud to be a supporter of National Poetry Month.
There are six main aims for National Poetry Month. Here they are, along with associated NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org resources.
- Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets.
Middle school students can explore how our senses provide powerful tools for literary analysis and comprehension with the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Color of Silence: Sensory Imagery in Pat Mora’s Poem ‘Echoes’“. The lesson is an extension of activities included in the NCTE book Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom.
- Encourage the reading of poems.
NCTE established its Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1977 to honor a living American poet for his or her aggregate work for children ages 3–13. Another Jar of Tiny Stars collects poems by winners of this award.
- Assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms.
In Getting the Knack, authors Stephen Dunning and William Stafford offer 20 exercises covering different types or phases of poetry writing. The authors’ humor and nonacademic style will appeal to experienced and novice poets of all ages. Read the chapter on “Found & Headline Poems“. See similar lesson plans from ReadWriteThink.org.
- Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media.
360 Degrees of Text: Using Poetry to Teach Close Reading and Powerful Writing describes an approach to teaching critical literacy that has students investigate texts through a full spectrum of learning modalities, harnessing the excitement of performance, imitation, creative writing, and argument/debate activities to become more powerful thinkers, readers, and writers. View the sample chapter online to read more about poetry as a means into academic writing. Learn more with these ReadWriteThink.org poetry lesson plans from the author.
- Encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books.
NCTE Notable Poetry Books list 16 outstanding poetry collections to offer children and teens—not just this month, but throughout the year and across the curriculum. Use these books, and create connections with books from previous Notable Lists (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011) to create even more poetry joy!
- Encourage support for poets and poetry.
View videos and learn about the winners of the NCTE Poetry Award through the NCTE Poets Spotlight Series.
Looking for more fun to celebrate poetry? Check out NCTE’s Poetry Tournament idea: create a basketball tournament-pairing chart using poetry and determine a final winner by reading the poems. Locate 64 poems and pair them off, just like basketball teams. Read two poems each day and let the students vote on the “winner.” Keep going until you have a final four and the final winner!