Poetry and Primary Sources

Poets compose verse to celebrate love, mourn losses, and inspire action. To mark National Poetry Month this year, we revisit past posts about poetry and strategies for teaching poetry:

Detail from O Captain! My Captain! printed copy with corrections, 1888

Primary Sources and Poetry: Learn more about strategies for using poetry to explore other eras, examine the creative process, and spark creativity in students.

Primary sources from the Library of Congress can be a powerful entry point into poetry, and the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog has published a number of posts highlighting poetry resources and providing teaching strategies.

Exploring Chronicling America for Poetry in Newspapers Before 1922

April is national poetry month, and though we don’t see much poetry in today’s newspapers, in the past it was a common feature…The Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers database offers a trove of poetry treasures waiting to be discovered.

An Ode to Autumn by a Writer in the Spring of Her Career In 1893, Helen Keller typed a poem that she described as:

…a word picture of autumn as I see it with the eyes of my soul.” In her own handwriting, she dedicated it to another friend, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who had helped guide much of her education.

Edgar Allan Poe: Using Primary Sources from the Library of Congress to Deepen Understanding of “The Raven”

The stories of Edgar Allan Poe are frequently associated with Halloween, but his writing has had a far deeper reach than connections to the holiday. As National Poetry Month approaches, students can explore his work and its cultural impact through primary sources from the Library of Congress.

Explore the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature for National Poetry Month

National Poetry month, a month to celebrate poetry, is a perfect time to explore the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature…Hearing a poem in the poet’s voice brings it to life in unexpected ways, and the range of poets offers something for all lovers of poetry.

Poetry 180: Refreshing the Jukebox and Stay Fresh, Poetry 180: 15 New Poems Added highlight recent updates to Poetry 180. Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate and creator of Poetry 180, offers this message:

…For the beginning of this school year, the website features many new poems. So dig in anywhere and be prepared to find 180 poems that are readable, engaging, and entertaining for you and your students.

Many of our entries point to From the Catbird Seat, from the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center. Here’s one more from them, to entice you to explore further:

New Recordings Online for National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is here, and we’re over the moon to announce the release of 50 additional recordings from the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, now available to stream online…put on those headphones, blast those speakers, and explore what the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature has to offer.

To find even more, search this blog for “poetry.” Let us know in the comments what your students’ favorite poems are!

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