Free Teacher Resources Available from the Poetry Foundation

Free Teacher Resources Available from the Poetry Foundation

CHICAGO —The Poetry Foundation is committed to the study of poetry as a critical skill for 21st century citizenship. As part of this commitment, the Foundation has created an ongoing suite of educational resources and tools for teachers that include an online Learning Lab (just updated with a Back to School with Poetry package), downloadable e-books, the POETRY mobile app, a variety of podcasts, the national Poetry Out Loud recitation competition and website, and an ongoing partnership with the New York Times Learning Network.

The organization’s heightened focus on education coincides with the appointment of new Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito. Polito’s most recent experience serving as the founding director of the New School’s creative writing program informs his focus on the study of poetry as a central educational skill for success.

“I’d like to move away from the vision or notion of poetry as enrichment,” says Polito. “The reality is that an individual who can appreciate poetry possesses a set of vital skills. These skills are required of an informed citizenry—one that is able to form educated opinions about important issues, and discuss and debate those issues.”

As learning standards and climates evolve, and as today’s readers continue to face an abundance of unfiltered information, the Poetry Foundation’s tools and educational resources are meeting students and teachers on their own ground—online, on mobile devices and through podcasts and e-books.

“Technology allows us to expand poetry’s audience in ways that have not always been available,” explains Polito. “Through technology, I believe that we can recalculate poetry’s role in the culture.”

Learning Lab
Developed around a set of more than 50 core learning poems by classic and contemporary poets, this area of offers articles, essays for students, discussion questions, teaching tips, writing ideas, poets’ biographies and more. Its most recent offerings are available as a downloadable back-to-school e-book.

POETRY from the Poetry Foundation app
A free app for iPhone and Android turns phones into mobile poetry libraries, with over 3,000 poems. Search poems by mood, poet, title and line using a fun, game-like interface.

Poetry magazine
Anyone can browse the magazine’s online archive, which includes all issues of Poetry since its founding in 1912. Discussion guides for each new issue of the magazine are also available, and the most recent issue of Poetry features a portfolio of poems chosen by favorite children’s book author Lemony Snicket. Carol Jago, past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, praised Snicket’s portfolio: “This collection should be required reading in every classroom in America. Lemony Snicket’s commentaries alone are worth the price of admission. What a gift to teachers.”

Poetry Out Loud
The Poetry Foundation and the NEA have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. The Poetry Out Loud website offers an archive of poems that students can use in competition, as well as teaching resources and reciting tips.

The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Off the Shelf and Poetry magazine podcasts, along with a variety of other series, offer poetry discussion on the go. Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. poetry tours offer listeners a dose of history and geography with their poetry.

Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute
The Institute convenes leading poets, scholars, publishers, educators and other thinkers from inside and outside the poetry world to address issues of importance to the art form of poetry. Recent projects include resources for bringing poetry to classrooms and communities, including Open the Door: How to Get Kids Excited About Poetry and Blueprints: Bringing Poetry Into Communities. Both books are free to download.

New York Times Learning Network
Each week the Poetry Foundation chooses a poem to pair with New York Times content that somehow echoes, extends or challenges the poem’s themes. We generally alternate a classic poem, such as Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” with a contemporary poem, such as David Wagoner’s “For a Student Sleeping in a Poetry Workshop.”

• Chicago resources
The Poetry Foundation Library, the Midwest’s only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, exists to promote the reading of poetry in the general public. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. The library welcomes K-12 field trips in which students participate in interactive activities that enhance their understanding of poetry. The library also provides interactive, guided visits for adult groups. To schedule a field trip or group visit, please contact the librarian at The Poetry Foundation’s fall 2013 events season also features a wealth of possibilities for learning outside the classroom.

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About Poetry Magazine
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About the Poetry Foundation Library
The Midwest’s only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, the Poetry Foundation Library exists to promote the reading of poetry in the general public, and to support the editorial needs of all Poetry Foundation programs and staff. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library creates interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in readers of all ages. The library’s collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, as well as including representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras. A children’s collection contains a range of titles to engage young readers.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070<tel:312.787.7070> |

Media contacts:
Elizabeth Burke-Dain,, 312.799.8016
Kristin Gecan,, 312.799.8065

About Steve Mentz 1265 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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