Writing Poetry Like Pros

"I taught reading poetry and writing poetry as one subject. I brought them together by means of 'poetry ideas,' which were suggestions I would give to the children for writing poems of their own in some way like the poems they were studying. We would read the adult poem in class, discuss it, and then they would write. Afterward, they or I would read aloud the poems they had written.

"When we read Blake's 'The Tyger,' I asked my students to write a poem in which they were asking questions of a mysterious and beautiful creature."
-- Kenneth Koch, American Academy of Poets,
Excerpts from Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?

Poems, classic and contemporary, make good company for your students. They can also serve as the inspiration for some terrific writing. Using poems available through EDSITEment resources, you can make poetry an exciting teaching and learning tool in your classroom.

Guiding Questions

How can a poetry idea in a poem inspire a new poem?

Who are some "classic" American poets who can inspire student writing?

Who are some contemporary poets who can inspire student writing?

Learning Objectives

Name classic and contemporary American poets and at least one poem by each.

Explain one poetry idea at work in a classic or contemporary poem.

Explain the poetry idea at work in one of their own poems.