April is Poetry Month:Resources from the Library of Congress


Plato had a point when he said, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” The Library of Congress has many excellent resources you can use to mark Poetry Month.  Here are just a few:

Found Poetry Primary Source Set with lesson and activity ideas (grades 4 – 12):

Using primary source texts on a variety of subjects, students select words to retell the historical content in poetic form.  

Poetry and Primary Sources (varied grades): from the Teachers Blog, a post by Stephen Wesson who notes: ”T.S. Eliot thought April was the cruelest month. William Carlos Williams thought it was the saddest. Longfellow and Ogden Nash said they loved it, and Emily Dickinson was ambivalent, so far as I can tell. . .”

Making Connections Through Poetry blog post (grades 4 – 12):The historical record reveals factual evidence, but poetry can lend meaning and emotional dimension to the telling of history. In this activity, students analyze primary source documents from the Library of Congress, and then share their understanding through the illustrated poetry they create.

Poetry 180 ( grades 8 – 12):Poetry should and can be a part of every student’s day.  This engaging, poem-a-day collection, assembled by poet Billy Collins, makes it easy.

Favorite Poem Project (varied grades: make sure to preview): This collection of fifty short video documentaries showcases individual Americans reading and speaking personally about poems they love. The videos were regular features on PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer and are a permanent part of the Library of Congress archive of recorded poetry and literature. They have also proven valuable as teaching and learning tools for a range of classrooms and ages. 

Two articles from the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM:  Our Poets Laureate The nation’s most acclaimed poets have helped the Library of Congress promote poetry for nearly 80 years.  Read more :American Women Poets , Library of Congress Launches National Poetry Month Pinterest Board.