The poet Lucille Clifton said, “Poetry comes out of wonder, not out of knowing.” In honor of National Poetry Month, consider the power of poetry to capture the varied, nuanced, complex range of human emotions and experience.
This month, and all year, share and read poetry to make visible the lived experiences of those who have been silenced. Read poetry to spark students' imaginations. Read poetry to help students heal. Read poetry to savor words, rhythm, metaphor. Read poetry to celebrate, to feel joy. Read poetry to embrace and recognize our common humanity.
Encourage students to read poetry written by a wide range of voices such as the poets spotlighted in this short collection so they can experience, as Clifton also says, that “poetry is a matter of life.”
Suggested Poetry Collections for Elementary
Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates risueños y otros poemas de primavera by Francisco X. Alarcón Talking with Mother Earth/Hablando con Madre Tierra by Jorge Argueta Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph Bruchac I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat by Nikki Giovanni Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes My Thoughts Are Clouds by Georgia Heard Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera (Picture Book poem) Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown By Malathi Michelle Iyengar The Thing about Bees a Love Letter By Shabazz Larkin (Picture book) Freedom We Sing By Amyra León (Picture Book) Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems by Grace Lin No Voice too Small: Fourteen Young American Making History Edited by Lindsay Metcalk, Keila Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley Thanku Poems of Gratitude illustrated by Marlena Myles Tap Dancing On The Roof Sijo (Poems) by Linda Sue Park Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
Suggested Poetry Collections for Middle Grades
Out of Wonder: Poetry Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany Browne Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics By Margarita Engle The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes Voices In The Air by Naomi Shihab Nye A Suitcase of Seaweed By Janet Wong
Suggested Poets for YA
New Poets of Native Nations Edited by Heid E. Erdrich
Amanda Gorman Amanda Gorman | Roar | Moth GrandSLAM
Joy Harjo - 2019 Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Reads “Grace” Def Poetry: Joy Harjo- "A Poem to get Rid of Fear" (Official Video)
Sophia Thakur Somebody Give This Heart A Pen by Sophia Thakur BET Sophia Thakur - Little Black Girls The following resource includes several performances by spoken word and slam poets that educators can consider for middle and high school students. 25+ Slam Poems Appropriate for Middle School and High School