The Favorite Poem Project features videos of Americans saying poems they love. The aural aspect of poetry, coupled with elements of performance art and a reader’s personal connection, definitely make poetry much more palatable than silently reading plainly formatted text. Consider today’s featured website my National Poetry Month gift to you!
The Favorite Poem Project was started by Robert Pinsky when he was named the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States. The main draw of the website comes in the form of 50 short videos where everyday people and celebrities read their favorite poem and explain its significance to their lives. Even more impressive is that over 18,000 Americans expressed an interest in taking part in the project!
I first discovered The Favorite Poem Project years ago when looking for ways to bring poetry to the students in my ninth and tenth grade English classes. It proved quite powerful for students to see a juvenile delinquent such as the guy in the video below find comfort in poetry that echoed his life experience. Even better, the video of a construction worker talking about Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass got my rural students squirming in their seats to see a guy with a manly-job readily acknowledging the personal impact of a poem.
The Favorite Poem Project also has a YouTube channel which I accessed to show the videos on the SmartBoard in my classroom since the videos are formatted on the website couldn’t be enlarged very much. The sky’s the limit for how the videos can be incorporated in the classroom. Not only that, but I made sure that my students realized I had also watched all 50 videos for the love of poetry. To this day, I regularly return to this website when I need a poetic pick-me-up.
Have you ever had to memorize a poem? How did your teachers incorporate poetry into the classroom?
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.