A new year of #TeachLivingPoets

Another school year is upon us, and it’s time for us to think about all the things: curriculum, building relationships with new students, texts, end-goals, et cetera, et cetera. For me personally, I want to continue my inclusion of living poets into my AP Literature and Creative Writing class, but I also want to do a better job this year of including it in my 11th grade American Lit classes. I’ve already added some books onto their syllabus; they get to choose between José Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal or Eve Ewing’s Electric Arches (both from Haymarket Books). I feel really good about having titles on my syllabus as a starting point, but I know I will need to put in some work to get my juniors’ curriculum where I want it to be in regards to #TeachLivingPoets.

On the syllabus for AP Literature this year – Clint Smith’s Counting Descent (Write Bloody Publishing), RA Villanueva’s Reliquaria (University of Nebraska Press), and Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books) are all making repeat appearances from last year. And I’m super excited to add Safia Elhillo’s The January Children (University of Nebraska Press) this year, as well. Creative Writing class doesn’t have any assigned books, but students are always borrowing and reading from my classroom library of poetry books.

large books

For teachers who might be new to teaching contemporary poetry, or might not feel as comfortable with it as other types of texts, I encourage you to just start reading. Here’s a list of some of the poets (below the video) I love and share in my classroom. I hope it helps you to get starting on your #TeachLivingPoets journey! If you want to hear my students’ share their experiences with poetry from last year, here’s a quick little video: 

Poets to follow:

Hanif Abdurraqib           @NifMuhammad http://www.abdurraqib.com/

Elizabeth Acevedo          @AcevedoWrites http://www.acevedopoetry.com/

Kelli Russell Agodon      @KelliAgodon https://www.pw.org/content/kelli_russell_agodon_0

Kaveh Akbar                  @KavehAkbar  http://kavehakbar.com/

Elizabeth Alexander       @ProfessorEA http://www.elizabethalexander.net/front-page-1

Kwame Alexander          @kwamealexander  http://kwamealexander.com/

Sherman Alexie             @Sherman_Alexie  http://fallsapart.com/ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/sherman-alexie

Eloisa Amezcua             @Eloisa_Amezcua https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/eloisa-amezcua

Anthony Anaxagorou     @Anthony1983 http://anthonyanaxagorou.com/

Raymond Antrobus        @RaymondAntrobus https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/raymond-antrobus

Fatimah Asghar             @asharthegrouch  https://fatimahasghar.com/

Aziza Barnes                 @AzizaBarnes http://www.poetshouse.org/programs-and-events/workshops-classes-residencies/emerging-poets-residency/aziza-barnes

Savon Bartley                @SavonBartley www.savonbartley.com   http://www.elevatedtalentgroup.com/savon-bartley/

Zeina Hashem Beck       @zeinabeck https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/zeina-hashem-beck

Oliver Baez Bendorf       @queerpoetics https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/oliver-baez-bendorf

Joshua Bennett             @SirJoshBennett  http://www.glappitnova.com/2014/12/27/poet-watch-joshua-bennett/

Jericho Brown               @jerichobrown  http://www.jerichobrown.com/

Mahogany L. Browne     @mobrowne  https://mobrowne.com/

Gabrielle Calvocoressi    @rocketfantastic https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/gabrielle-calvocoressi

Victoria Chang              @VChangPoet  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/victoria-chang

Cortney L Charleston     @bardsbesidebars https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/cortney-lamar-charleston

Chen Chen                    @chenchenwrites  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/chen-chen

Franny Choi                  @frannychoir  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/franny-choi

Chloe N Clark                @PintsNCupcakes https://chloenclark.com/

Tiana Clark                   @TianaClarkPoet http://www.tianaclark.com/

Donte Collins                @Donte_ThePoet  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/donte-collins

Eduardo C. Corral         @EduardoCCorral  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/eduardo-c-corral

Kevin Coval                   @kevincoval https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/kevin-coval

Kyle Dargan                  @Free_KGD https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/kyle-dargan

Kwame Dawes               @kwamedawes https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/kwame-dawes

Tyree Daye                    @TyreeDaye http://www.tyree.work/

Oliver De la Paz             @Oliver_delaPaz  http://www.oliverdelapaz.com/

Natalie Diaz                  @NatalieGDiaz  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/natalie-diaz

Safia Elhillo                  @mafiasafia http://www.unionstationmag.com/2014/12/poems-safia-elhillo/

Eve Ewing                     @eveewing https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/eve-l-ewing

Rudy Francisco             @RudyFrancisco https://www.iamrudyfrancisco.com/

Denice Frohman            @denicefrohman http://denicefrohman.com/poems

Terrance Hayes             https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/terrance-hayes

Rebecca Hazleton          @hinxminx https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/rebecca-hazelton

Marwa Helal                  @marwahelal http://marshelal.com/writing/

Juan Felipe Herrera       @cilantroman  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/juan-felipe-herrera

Neil Hilborn                  @Neilicorn https://buttonpoetry.com/neilhilborn/

JP Howard                    @JPHoward_poet  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/jp-howard

Tyehimba Jess               @TyehimbaJess http://www.tyehimbajess.net/  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/tyehimba-jess

Saeed Jones                  @theferocity  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/saeed-jones

Sarah Kay                     @kaysarahsera http://www.kaysarahsera.com/ http://www.projectvoice.co/gallery/sarah-kay-gallery

Donika Kelly                 @officialdonika https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/donika-kelly

Paige Lewis                   @Paige_M_Lewis https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/paige-lewis

Carvens Lissaint           @carvenslissaint https://www.ted.com/speakers/carvens_lissaint

Rachel Long                  @rachelnalong  http://poetrysociety.org.uk/poets/rachel-long/  https://writesrachell.com/

Nate Marshall                @illuminatemics  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/nate-marshall

Adrian Matejka              @adrian_matejka https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/adrian-matejka

Rachel McKibbens         @RachelMcKibbens https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/rachel-mckibbens

Kyle Tran Myhre            @elguante http://www.guante.info/

Angel Nafis                    @AngelNafis http://www.angelnafis.com/ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/angel-nafis

Aimee Nezhukumatathil @aimeenez https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/aimee-nezhukumatathil

Hieu Minh Nguyen        @HieuMinh https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/hieu-minh-nguyen

Sharon Olds                  @Old_Sharon https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/sharon-olds

José Olivarez                 @JayOhEssEe http://www.poetshouse.org/programs-and-events/workshops-classes-residencies/emerging-poets-residency/jos%C3%A9-olivarez

Gregory Pardlo              @Pardlo http://pardlo.net/ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/gregory-pardlo

Alan Michael Parker       @AMPoProse http://alanmichaelparker.com/

Morgan Parker              @morganapple  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/morgan-parker

Cathy Park-Hong           @cathyparkhong https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/cathy-park-hong

Carl Phillips                  @CPhillipsPoet  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/carl-phillips

Emilia Phillips               @gracefulemilia https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/emilia-phillips

Tommy Pico                  @heyteebs https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/tommy-pico

Camille Rankine            @camillerankine https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/camille-rankine

Claudia Rankine            https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/claudia-rankine

John Sands                   @iAmJonSands https://www.pw.org/content/jon_sands

Sam Sax                       @samsax1 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/sam-sax

Nicole Sealey                 @Nic_Sealey https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/nicole-sealey

Natalie Shapero             @natalieshapero https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/natalie-shapero

Mahtem Shifferaw         https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/mahtem-shiferraw

Safiya Sinclair               @SafiyaSinclair https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/safiya-sinclair

Clint Smith                   @ClintSmithIII https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2016/12/wbur-spotlights-poet-clint-smith/

Danez Smith                 @Danez_Smif https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/danez-smith

Maggie Smith                @maggiesmithpoet https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/maggie-smith

Patricia Smith               @pswordwoman http://www.wordwoman.ws/

Christopher Soto           @loma_poetry https://christophersoto-poet.com/

Nicole F Tong                @NFTong https://www.nicoletong.com/

Lena Kalaf Tuffaha        LKTuffaha  https://www.lenakhalaftuffaha.com/

Leah Umansky              @lady_bronte  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/leah-umansky

Mai Der Vang                @maider_vang  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/mai-der-vang

R.A. Villanueva              @caesura http://caesura.nu/

Ross White                    @rosswhite https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/ross-white

Phillip B. Williams         @PBW_Poet https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/phillip-b-williams

Jamila Woods                @duhmilo https://jamilawoodswrites.com/

Wendy Xu                     @wendyX https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/wendy-xu

Kevin Young                 @Deardarkness https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/kevin-young

Rachel Zucker               @rachzuck https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/rachel-zucker

 

By no means is this list finished or complete, and it’s still missing so many fabulous poets. However, I am including these just as a starting point. I hope you will discover more to add on your own! 

Happy reading! 

Have a great start to your school year! 

You can follow me on Twitter at @MelAlterSmith

One thought on “A new year of #TeachLivingPoets

  1. Teaching living poets definitely goes a long way in helping students view poetry as something that can be a meaningful part of their everyday lives. Glad to know that there’s an effort to do this at the high school level, when students are still discovering their tastes. This post is also super helpful as a resource – thanks for sharing!

    Like

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