Frederic-Auguste Bertholdi, Statue of Liberty sculptor, is born

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April 2, 1834

American Experience: Walt Whitman

This program, about the life and work of the poet Walt Whitman, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is available to watch online. EDSITEment lesson plans "Walt Whitman's Poetry and Notebooks: The Sweep of the Universe" and "Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy" will introduce students to one of the most compelling voices of the 19th century.

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks is born

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June 7, 1917
Logo of Poetry Foundation: silhouette of winged Pegasus

Poetry Foundation

Children’s section offers imaginative ways to incorporate poetry in children’s lives, interviews with poets, and more. Includes an interactive poetry tool for searching through poems.

American Verse Project

Electronic archive of American poetry prior to 1920.

Academy of American Poets

Produced by the Academy of American Poets, this site contains biographies of poets and the texts of hundreds of poems, many with images and sound files.

  • Japanese Poetry: Tanka? You're Welcome!

    Japanese garden with pond. photo by Harry M. Rhoads

    This unit on the Japanese poetic form tanka encourages students to explore the structure and content of the form and to arrive at a definition of the tanka’s structure in English. Students will read and analyze the tanka form and compare it to English structures of poetry, and will finally compose their own tankas.

  • Arabic Poetry: Guzzle a Ghazal!

    Southern Arabia, Alabaster (gypsum)

    This lesson engages students in the reading and writing of the ghazal, a public, participatory poetic form created by the ancient Bedouins of Arabia and Persia. Students examine the structure of the ghazal, which continues as a poetic form in India, Iraq, and Iran, to derive a definition of this intricate form of word-play, and collaboratively compose their own group ghazals.

  • Poems of Tennyson and Noyes: Pictures in Words

    Photograph of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

    Striking examples of poetic "pictures"-not just vivid images but the entire mental picture conjured up by a poet-are to be found in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes. As they explore the means by which Tennyson and  Noyes create these compelling pictures in words, students will also learn the critical terminology to analyze and describe a variety of poetic techniques and will have an opportunity to create their own pictures in words.

  • Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy

    Walt Whitman.

    Walt Whitman sought to create a new and distinctly American form of poetry. His efforts had a profound influence on subsequent generations of American poets. In this lesson, students will explore the historical context of Whitman's concept of "democratic poetry" by reading his poetry and prose and by examining daguerreotypes taken circa 1850. Next, students will compare the poetic concepts and techniques behind Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again," and will have an opportunity to apply similar concepts and techniques in creating a poem from their own experience.