December 11, 2018

Integrating Tech: Poetry 180

Poetry 180

Poetry 180 is a project of two-time U.S. Poet Laureate (2002-2003) Billy Collins. The Poetry Foundation describes Mr. Collins, “Dubbed ‘the most popular poet in America’ by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself.” In an October, 2002 webcast discussing Poetry 180, Mr. Collins described his vision to get modern, diverse poetry into American high schools:

In my high school we were reading poetry that was mostly written by dead white bearded males with three names. . . . One of the aims of Poetry 180 was to put up on the website 180 poems, one for each day of the school year, all of which were clear, contemporary, cool, easy to get on the first reading, and to encourage schools to make those poems part of the daily announcements so that in the morning you would hear over the loudspeaker, perhaps, the softball team practices at 3:30 and the stamp club has been disbanded and here’s the poem of the day.

As stated on the Poetry 180 website, “Poems can inspire and make us think about what it means to be a member of the human race.” Think about it. How can you incorporate more poetry into the daily lives of your students? Below are some suggestions for school-wide recitations.

Select someone to read a poem to the school each day. Or, better still, give prospective readers the opportunity to look at the next few weeks’ worth of poems and let them choose a poem they want to read. The daily poem may be read aloud by any member of the school community: a student, a teacher, an administrator or a staff person. Students with literary inclinations might be the most eager to read, but teachers should aim at creating a broad spectrum of readers to encourage the notion that poetry belongs to everyone. Ideally, the editor of the student literary magazine would read one day and the volleyball coach the next day; a member of the grounds crew might be followed by the principal. The program should be as democratic as possible and not the property of one group. Wide participation might even increase the overall sense of community in the school.

The goal is to give students a chance to listen to a poem each day. . . . The hope is that poetry will become a part of the daily life of students in addition to being a subject that is part of the school curriculum.

Unless students really want to discuss the poem, there is no need to do so. The most important thing is that the poems be read and listened to without any academic requirements.

If reciting a poem over the school loudspeaker isn’t possible, what about beginning class with a recitation? As the teacher, you can model how to read a poem aloud. Then students could take over. These student-read poems could be live or recorded. You might also enlist the help of the school librarian, if you are lucky enough to have one, to help with recording student poem recitations. Links to the recordings could be posted using QR codes at the bottom of the written poems.

If a poetry reading every day doesn’t work, you might try “a poem every other day or a poem only on Fridays or one to start the week on Monday. A little participation is better than no participation at all.” You might even consider posting the poem of the day on the bulletin board, or a link on the class website, class blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account.

No matter what, we hope educators and students will take advantage of this wonderful resource to connect with poetry and learn more about the fabulous featured poets. Access the complete list of all 180 poems and then, in the table below, click the poet’s last name, or surname, to learn more about the artist (NOTE: some poets have more than one poem featured in Poetry 180 so only the first poem titles are listed below). View the complete list of 180 poems.

#Poem TitlePoet First NamePoet Last Name
74Near the Wall of a HouseYehudaAmichai
2The Kitchen Shears SpeakChristianneBalk
3From On Being Fired AgainErinBelieu
5The YawnPaulBlackburn
7Driving to Town Late to Mail a LetterRobertBly
8This MomentEavanBoland
9Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to RainRichardBrautigan
10Girls, Look Out for Todd BernsteinJasonBredle
11Tuesday 9:00 AMDenverButson
12Before She DiedKarenChase
13Lift Your Right ArmPeterCherches
15Introduction to PoetryBillyCollins
16The Summer I Was SixteenGeraldineConnolly
19How to Change a Frog Into a PrinceAnnaDenise
20Loud MusicStephenDobyns
22Forgotten PlanetDougDorph
23Of Politics & ArtNormanDubie
24I’ve Been KnownDeniseDuhamel
25Who Burns for the Perfection of PaperMartínEspada
26Marcus Millsap: School Day AfternoonDaveEtter
27The FarewellEdward FieldField
28Cartoon Physics, part 1NickFlynn
29The Printer’s ErrorAaronFogel
30Gouge, Adze, Rasp, HammerChrisForhan
31Eagle PlainRobertFrancis
32She Didn’t Mean to Do ItDaisyFried
33Because You Left Me a Handful of DaffodilsMaxGarland
34Thanks For Remembering UsDanaGioia
35Blue WillowJodyGladding
37Smell and EnvyDouglasGoetsch
38The Poetry of Bad WeatherDeboraGreger
39Summer in a Small TownLindaGregg
40One MorningEamonGrennan
41Dorie Off To AtlantaMarkHalliday
44Our Other SisterJeffreyHarrison
46God Says Yes To MeKaylinHaught
47Sentimental Moment or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road?RobertHershon
48Fast BreakEdwardHirsch
50Forgiving BucknerJohnHodgen
51GretelAndreaHollander Budy
52How Many TimesMarieHowe
54In the WellAndrewHudgins
55The Hymn of a Fat WomanJoyceHuff
56The BagelDavidIgnatow
57My Father’s HatsMarkIrwin
58How to ListenMajorJackson
60A Birthday CandleDonaldJustice
61The Green One Over ThereKatiaKapovich
62Bike Ride with Older BoysLauraKasischke
63The Blue BowlJaneKenyon
64The MeadowKateKnapp Johnson
65Advice from the ExpertsBillKnott
66To StammeringKennethKoch
67“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?”RonKoertge
68Selecting a ReaderTedKooser
69Some CloudsSteveKowit
70Morning SwimMaxineKumin
75End of AprilPhillisLevin
76A Man I KnewMargaretLevine
77Not SwansSusanLudvigson
78Remora, RemoraThomasLux
79A Shadow of a NestGaryMargolis
81Sister CatFrancesMayes
82A Toast to the Baltimore OrioleDonMcKay
84Red WingJosephMillar
85The DeadSusanMitchell
87Soccer MomsPaulMuldoon
89Her HeadJoanMurray
90Love SongCarolMuske-Dukes
91A Primer of the Daily RoundHowardNemerov
92The CordLeanneO’Sullivan
93The Space HeaterSharonOlds
95Ladies and Gentlemen in Outer SpaceRonPadgett
96Birth DayElisePaschen
97To a Daughter Leaving HomeLindaPastan
98PoetryDon PatersonPaterson
99What I Would DoMarcPetersen
101Small ComfortKathaPollitt
103The DistancesHenryRago
104Doing WithoutDavidRay
105My Daughters in New YorkJamesReiss
106Timely Enumerations Concerning Sri LankaOliverRice
107Coffee in the AfternoonAlbertoRíos
108The BatTheodoreRoethke
109The HandMaryRuefle
110Bad DayKayRyan
111The Swan at Edgewater ParkRuth L.Schwartz
112The BirthdayElizabethSeydel Morgan
113Hate PoemJulieSheehan
114The RiderNaomiShihab Nye
115Bringing My Son to the Police Station to be FingerprintedShoshaunaShy
116The Partial ExplanationCharlesSimic
117NeglectR. T.Smith
119At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian BorderWilliamStafford
12096 VandamGeraldStern
121How To Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids In Her FutureIraSukrungruang
122The End and the BeginningWislawaSzymborska
123The Last WolfMaryTallMountain
125Domestic Work, 1937NatashaTrethewey
127Watching the Mayan WomenLuisaVillani
128The Student ThemeRonaldWallace
129It Took All My EnergyTonyWallace
130After UsConnieWanek
131Did I Miss AnythingTomWayman
133A Wreath to the FishNancyWillard
134Love Poem With ToastMillerWilliams
135Social SecurityTerenceWinch
136Slow Children at PlayCeciliaWoloch
137Publication DateFranzWright
138Do You Love Me?RobertWrigley

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