My esteemed colleague Ray Voley recently reminded me of a VERY valuable resource for junior high and high school language arts teachers. "Poetry 180" is a site originally developed by Billy Collins, whose goal as a previous U.S. Poet Laureate was to ensure that students across the country had regular access to great poetry. The site has links to 180 poems (enough for one per school day for the entire year) and provides an excellent resource for teachers who wish to make poetry part of their classrooms.
To read some REALLY amazing student-authored writing, including some poetry, head on over to hawknews.org, the home of Kenny Lake School's Writers Workshop. These student authors have PLENTY to be proud of! Spend some time reading their writing, listening to their podcasts, and enjoying their videos. Great stuff.
Finally, because it wouldn't be right to talk about poetry and then not share even a single verse, here is Collins' "Introduction to Poetry." Enjoy!
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.