We’re just a few days into 2018, which means there’s still plenty of time to fine-tune your goals and wishes for the year. While I don’t exactly have the best track record of seeing through particularly ambitious resolutions, I’ve found that setting small, creative aspirations for the year tend to be the most achievable and invigorating. One of my favorite tried-and-true resolutions is to start each day by reading a poem—a modest act with world-opening results.
If this sounds like an overwhelming task, don’t fret: There are several online resources that, with an e-mail address and mere click of a button, will bring a daily poem directly to your inbox.
One such poem-a-day service that is near and dear to our hearts is, of course, Poetry 180—launched in 2001 by former Poet Laureate Billy Collins. The primary aim of Poetry 180 is to engage high school students, but over the years the series has gained followers of all ages. Here’s what Collins had to say about Poetry 180’s inception:
Poetry can and should be an important part of our daily lives. Poems can inspire and make us think about what it means to be a member of the human race. By just spending a few minutes reading a poem each day, new worlds can be revealed.
Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. I have selected the poems you will find here with high school students in mind. They are intended to be listened to, and I suggest that all members of the school community be included as readers.
Collins’ approach to choosing poems for Poetry 180 aligns with his belief that “hearing a poem every day, especially well-written, contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might convince students that poetry can be an understandable, painless and even eye-opening part of their everyday experience.” Whether you’re a student or otherwise lover of poetry, subscribing to Poetry 180 can deliver the daily dose of contemporary poetry you’re seeking. Billy Collins has been refreshing the jukebox for the 2017-18 school year, too, so stay tuned for even more new poems this spring!
To round out the remainder of your calendar year, both the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation offer poem-a-day delivery as well (with option for audio readings!). If you’re more of a five-poem-a-day person, you can add Poetry Daily and Verse Daily to your roster, too.
Unlike the otherwise physically or psychically draining New Year’s resolutions we’ve come to know and dread, committing to read a poem a day is more about exploration and discovery than overcoming an excruciating obstacle. You know the adage: “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Facing the day with a poem allows you to open innumerable lines of inquiry—to look through a new lens each new day.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a resolution worth keeping?