Poetry Festival Planning

What began as a collaboration between our former head media specialist and an English teacher to create a poetry celebration seven years ago has become an annual spring poetry festival at my school. We’ve included a variety of activities over the years, but the mainstays have been visits from published poets and performers, a poetry contest for students who either attend our high school or come from elementary and middle schools that feed into our school, Open Mic days in the media center, and a Poetry Slam to cap the week.

I am preparing for our first Poetry Festival Committee meeting on Monday and want to suggest using technology and Web 2.0 tools to add a new dimension to our festival.  So I’m spending some time this weekend culling sites and thoughts to present and thought I’d share them here in case others are interested in doing the same.

Poetry 180: a Poem a Day for American High Schools  The perfect starting place to celebrate poetry all year long.

Favorite Poem Project This is a collection of 50 short documentaries of Americans reciting their favorite poem.  Each individual’s story is told to show the poem’s relevance to his/her life.

Magnetic Poetry Online You can choose from ten kits (including Shakespeare, Genius, College, Cat Lover, Pickup Lines, and My Friend) to use to create your own poetry.  The kits are composed of word tiles which can be manipulated just like the magnetic kits you buy for your refrigerator (or other magnetic surface).

Poetry Foundation’s Online Journal: Video “A series of short poetry films featuring poets reading their own work, animated interpretations of much-loved poems, and celebrities reading personal favorites, produced by WGBH and David Grubin Productions, and student filmmakers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s docUWM media center.” (excerpt from the web site)

Poetry Out Loud Best Performances Video This video is a compilation of the performances of 11 students in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest.  The accompanying text explains the key strengths of each performance and provides suggestions for the video’s use as well as links to download evaluation criteria, scoring sheets, a judge’s guide, and FAQ .

Spotlight on Voices and Visions This site highlights the poets in Annenberg Media’s Voices and Visions series.  It provides links to each of the thirteen poets featured in the series.  From each poet’s site, you can read information about the poet and click on links to audio and video clips of the poet’s work being read.

Web tools for teacher and student use in the celebration of poetry:

Ed.VoiceThread.com   Students could create a collage of images to accompany their own audio recording of a favorite poem.

Digital Storytelling Alan Levine shares 50 ways to share a digital story in this wiki.  Many could be used to share poetry.

Edublogs Teachers could create a blog where they post original student work and moderate student comments.

Wordle Students could type in one or more favorite poems and create a word collage to display.


Image attribution:

Image: ‘magnetic poetry
magnetic poetry


2 Responses to “Poetry Festival Planning”

  1. Buffy Hamilton Says:

    Hi! Maybe you could podcast some of the readings? I did this with one of our English teachers last spring, and it was an amazing day. You could also make posters of student poem and have a “gallery” of poetry around the library…our students really enjoyed reading each other’s poems. I also did a little “Poem in Your Pocket” display, too. See http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/the-unquiet-library-celebrates-poem-in-your-pocket-day/ and http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/poetry-and-podcasting-a-powerful-combination/ .

    That is really fabulous that your teachers have gotten on board with this event! I have tried to stage something similar, but no takers so far. Maybe this year will be the year! 🙂

  2. informania Says:

    I remember your “Poem in Your Pocket” display from the spring – fantastic! Thanks for all of your suggestions. I would love to try podcasting and will suggest using Gcast since it is as simple as using your cell phone. The poetry gallery sounds like another hit.

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