RESOURCE TOOLKIT FOR AMERICAN SPACES
This Resource Toolkit contains lesson plans, videos, exhibits, and articles to be used at American Spaces to recognize the achievements of American poets and their role in U.S. history.
What is poetry? Despite it being a vital part of cultures around the world, poetry is difficult to define. Here are some resources that can start the conversation.
TED-Ed: What makes a poem … a poem? – Melissa Kovacs
Video duration: 5 minutes
English Level: Lower-Intermediate
- An article from Poets.org that attempts to define poetry through the words of famous poets throughout history.
- English Level: Advanced
POETRY THROUGHOUT AMERICAN HISTORY
The United States has a rich and influential history of poetry. Around the 19th century, a distinctly American voice began to emerge, which included notable poets like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Louisa May Alcott. Many of these American writers challenged the status quo and introduced new schools of thought or forms of writing. The 20th century launched the modern poetry movement, with poets like Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot reinventing traditional poetic form. Other influential poets like Langston Hughes and Claude McKay became key figures in the Harlem Renaissance, which is considered the rebirth of African-American arts and modern cultural expression.
Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist. She was awarded National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 and recently became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. In addition to being an award-winning writer, she is also a cum laude graduate of Harvard University.
Listen to three of Amanda Gorman’s poems:
- Four Presidents have had poets at their inauguration, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden For a lesson plan on Inaugural Poems click here.
With thousands of academic programs, world-class institutions, and unmatched flexibility, the United States offers a wealth of higher- education opportunities that you will not find anywhere else in the world!
See if studying in the U.S. is right for you, and learn how to make it happen: https://educationusa.state.gov
WHO ARE SOME OTHER NOTABLE POETS?
Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)
Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)
VIDEOS ON POETRY
- Papa is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost
- A reading of Natalie S. Bober’s picture book on Robert Frost.
- Video duration: 15 minutes
- How has poetry played a role in your life?
- Have you ever written poetry? What was your inspiration?
- Which poets do you know? Do you have a favorite poet?
- Check out current exhibits at the American Poetry Museum
- Listen to the “Poem-a-Day” podcast produced by the Academy of American Poets.
- ShareAmerica – Poetry slam gives young people the confidence to express themselves
- ShareAmerica – Meet Joy Harjo, the new U.S. poet laureate
- ShareAmerica – A poet gives voice to all languages
The views expressed in these links and resources do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. government.
Updated April 2023