May 20, 2019

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 Title Poet First Name Poet Last Name
74 Near the Wall of a House Yehuda Amichai
2 The Kitchen Shears Speak Christianne Balk
3 From On Being Fired Again Erin Belieu
4 Snow David Berman
5 The Yawn Paul Blackburn
6 Fight Laurel Blossom
7 Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter Robert Bly
8 This Moment Eavan Boland
9 Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain Richard Brautigan
10 Girls, Look Out for Todd Bernstein Jason Bredle
11 Tuesday 9:00 AM Denver Butson
12 Before She Died Karen Chase
13 Lift Your Right Arm Peter Cherches
14 Heat Michael Chitwood
15 Introduction to Poetry Billy Collins
16 The Summer I Was Sixteen Geraldine Connolly
17 Numbers Mary Cornish
18 Wheels Jim Daniels
19 How to Change a Frog Into a Prince Anna Denise
20 Loud Music Stephen Dobyns
21 Machines Michael Donaghy
22 Forgotten Planet Doug Dorph
23 Of Politics & Art Norman Dubie
24 I’ve Been Known Denise Duhamel
25 Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper Martín Espada
26 Marcus Millsap: School Day Afternoon Dave Etter
27 The Farewell Edward Field Field
28 Cartoon Physics, part 1 Nick Flynn
29 The Printer’s Error Aaron Fogel
30 Gouge, Adze, Rasp, Hammer Chris Forhan
31 Eagle Plain Robert Francis
32 She Didn’t Mean to Do It Daisy Fried
33 Because You Left Me a Handful of Daffodils Max Garland
34 Thanks For Remembering Us Dana Gioia
35 Blue Willow Jody Gladding
36 Smoking Elton Glaser
37 Smell and Envy Douglas Goetsch
38 The Poetry of Bad Weather Debora Greger
39 Summer in a Small Town Linda Gregg
40 One Morning Eamon Grennan
41 Dorie Off To Atlanta Mark Halliday
42 Lesson Forrest Hamer
43 Halloween Mac Hammond
44 Our Other Sister Jeffrey Harrison
45 Nights Kevin Hart
46 God Says Yes To Me Kaylin Haught
47 Sentimental Moment or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road? Robert Hershon
48 Fast Break Edward Hirsch
49 Grammar Tony Hoagland
50 Forgiving Buckner John Hodgen
51 Gretel Andrea Hollander Budy
52 How Many Times Marie Howe
53 Keats Christopher Howell
54 In the Well Andrew Hudgins
55 The Hymn of a Fat Woman Joyce Huff
56 The Bagel David Ignatow
57 My Father’s Hats Mark Irwin
58 How to Listen Major Jackson
59 Football Louis Jenkins
60 A Birthday Candle Donald Justice
61 The Green One Over There Katia Kapovich
62 Bike Ride with Older Boys Laura Kasischke
63 The Blue Bowl Jane Kenyon
64 The Meadow Kate Knapp Johnson
65 Advice from the Experts Bill Knott
66 To Stammering Kenneth Koch
67 “Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?” Ron Koertge
68 Selecting a Reader Ted Kooser
69 Some Clouds Steve Kowit
70 Morning Swim Maxine Kumin
71 Locals James Lasdun
72 Break Dorianne Laux
73 Dandelion Julie Lechevsky
74 6/11/2015 David Lehman
75 End of April Phillis Levin
76 A Man I Knew Margaret Levine
77 Not Swans Susan Ludvigson
78 Remora, Remora Thomas Lux
79 A Shadow of a Nest Gary Margolis
80 Loyal William Matthews
81 Sister Cat Frances Mayes
82 A Toast to the Baltimore Oriole Don McKay
83 Knowledge Philip Memmer
84 Red Wing Joseph Millar
85 The Dead Susan Mitchell
86 Immortality Lisel Mueller
87 Soccer Moms Paul Muldoon
88 Mentor Timothy Murphy
89 Her Head Joan Murray
90 Love Song Carol Muske-Dukes
91 A Primer of the Daily Round Howard Nemerov
92 The Cord Leanne O’Sullivan
93 The Space Heater Sharon Olds
94 White-Eyes Mary Oliver
95 Ladies and Gentlemen in Outer Space Ron Padgett
96 Birth Day Elise Paschen
97 To a Daughter Leaving Home Linda Pastan
98 Poetry Don Paterson Paterson
99 What I Would Do Marc Petersen
100 Birthday Stanley Plumly
101 Small Comfort Katha Pollitt
102 Rotary Christina Pugh
103 The Distances Henry Rago
104 Doing Without David Ray
105 My Daughters in New York James Reiss
106 Timely Enumerations Concerning Sri Lanka Oliver Rice
107 Coffee in the Afternoon Alberto Ríos
108 The Bat Theodore Roethke
109 The Hand Mary Ruefle
110 Bad Day Kay Ryan
111 The Swan at Edgewater Park Ruth L. Schwartz
112 The Birthday Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
113 Hate Poem Julie Sheehan
114 The Rider Naomi Shihab Nye
115 Bringing My Son to the Police Station to be Fingerprinted Shoshauna Shy
116 The Partial Explanation Charles Simic
117 Neglect R. T. Smith
118 Tour Carol Snow
119 At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border William Stafford
120 96 Vandam Gerald Stern
121 How To Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids In Her Future Ira Sukrungruang
122 The End and the Beginning Wislawa Szymborska
123 The Last Wolf Mary TallMountain
124 Kyrie Tomas Tranströmer
125 Domestic Work, 1937 Natasha Trethewey
126 Sure Arlene Tribbia
127 Watching the Mayan Women Luisa Villani
128 The Student Theme Ronald Wallace
129 It Took All My Energy Tony Wallace
130 After Us Connie Wanek
131 Did I Miss Anything Tom Wayman
132 Blind Charles Webb
133 A Wreath to the Fish Nancy Willard
134 Love Poem With Toast Miller Williams
135 Social Security Terence Winch
136 Slow Children at Play Cecilia Woloch
137 Publication Date Franz Wright
138 Do You Love Me? Robert Wrigley

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