It is believed that poetry pre-dates literacy, with the earliest poems being memorized and either spoken or sung. Poetry has been around since ancient Greek times and was designed as a way to help remember history and retell events. The oldest poems are records of cultural information of their era. With the development of literacy, poetry became much more personal and more lyrical. Today’s most famous poets are singer-songwriters and rappers.
- Celebrate Children’s Poetry – The website of children’s poet Kristine O’Connell George, this site offers some of her poems, teacher’s guides and information for students on her various poetry books and her inspiration.
- Poetry 180 – A Poem a Day for American High Schools – Presented by the Library of Congress, this site by former Poet Laureate Billy Collins offers a different poem for every school day of the year. It is targeted at high school students and teachers.
- Favorite Poem Project – This project showcases a variety of Americans reading poems they love.
- Handbook of Terms for Discussing Poetry – Compiled by students and teachers at Emory University, this site features a glossary of poetic terms, directed mainly at high school and post-secondary students.
- Modern American Poetry – This website by the University of Illinois presents a variety of modern American poets and their poetry. Information for teachers and course syllabi for using the site is included.
- Poetry Class – This website by The Poetry Society includes poetry lessons for teachers to use in teaching poetry.
- Fooling With Words – This website by PBS.org features a teacher’s guide and lesson plans on contemporary poets and their poetry.
- Lesson Planet – Poetry – This website presents over 5500 lesson plans to teach poetry for teachers to use at various levels from kindergarten to high school.
- Story Problem – This website which requires Adobe Shockwave to work presents an interactive adaptation of a poem. Readers control the rhythm, melody, volume and other poetic elements simply by moving their mouse.
- Giggle Poetry – Targeted primarily at elementary and middle-school students, this website presents funny poems for them to read and rate. Poetic word games and learning activities are also included.
- Langston Hughes – This website produced by the University of Illinois’ Department of English features a wealth of information on this modern American poet. Explanations and criticisms of many of his poems are included.
- Maya Angelou– Produced by the University at Buffalo, this website explores a variety of poems by Maya Angelou. Many of her best representative works have been published here.
- Edgar Allen Poe – This website features a short biography of Edgar Allen Poe and reprints of some of his best poems. Poe’s little-known poetry is published here.
- Emily Dickinson – This website lists many of Emily Dickinson’s poems in alphabetical order. Clicking on the title of the poem will display the entire poem.
- Shel Silverstein– The poet’s official website gives a biography of Silverstein and lists much of his work. It also has sections specifically for teachers, parents, and children.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sponsored by The Victorian Web, this site features all kinds of information on the poet, including biography, themes, her history, characterization, and of course, her poetry.
- Lord Byron – This website features a representative sample of Lord Byron’s poetry. Poems listed here include “Prometheus” and “Fare Thee Well.”
- E.E. Cummings– This website explores the concepts of voice and silence in cummings’ poetry. It examines a few specific poems in reference to silence and voice expressed in them.
- Walt Whitman– Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this website provides access to four of Whitman’s once lost notebooks. It also features some of his most famous essays.
- Sylvia Plath– This website dedicated to Plath features information on her life, samples of many of her essays and poems, and critical articles on her work.
Types of Poetry
- Haiku – Produced by Harris Middle School, this website explains what a haiku is and how it is written. It gives the reader a chance to create his or her own haiku.
- Ballad – This website provides a detailed explanation of what a ballad is and how to write one. Links to other sites about ballads are also provided.
- Sonnet – This website presents an archive of English and Canadian sonnets. Sonnets may be explored via author alphabetically.
- Free Verse– This website explains how free verse is written and its purpose. Examples of free verse are provided.
- Blank Verse – Produced by the University of Northern Iowa, this website explains the concept of blank verse in detail. It offers information on how to write blank verse and examples.
- Limerick– This website which is primarily directed at teachers and students explains what a limerick is. Activities on writing limericks are included.
- Ode– This website explores the history of the ode, from ancient Greek times until modern day. Examples of poets who wrote odes are offered.
- Narrative – This website presents a long list of narrative poems by a variety of authors. Clicking on each link will take the reader directly to the narrative poem.
- Dramatic monologue– Produced by the English department at Kansas State University, this site explains in detail the literary concept of the dramatic monologue. Examples are provided, as well as a dramatic monologue game in which readers identify the situation and what the speaker wants in a given dramatic monologue.
- Villanelle– This site explains the villanelle in great detail. It explores how a villanelle is written and provides examples.
- e-server Poetry Collection – This extensive database provides a variety of poems of various kinds. Popular poets such as T.S. Eliot, William Blake and William Wordsworth are represented.
- eMule Poetry Archives – This database contains 5048 classical poems by 153 classical poets. Those represented include Robert Frost, Sara Teasdale and John Keats.
- Poetry in Translation – This site presents a poetry archive of the poet A.S. Kline and other Chinese and English poets. The site is organized by type of poem, title of poem, and whether it’s offered in Chinese or English.
- Scottish Poetry Library – This site presents a variety of Scottish poets, with a database searchable by last name. Clicking on the poet’s name will bring up many of his or her poems.
- The Poems: Poetry Archive – This website features a database which can be browsed by poet’s last name and one which can be browsed by the title of the poem.
- The Poems: Poets.org -Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, this site offers thousands of poems by American poets categorized by title, first line, or author’s last name.
- Contemporary American Poetry Archive – This extensive online archive of American poems is categorized alphabetically by author’s last name. It features many poems which are out of print.
- First World War Poetry Digital Archive – This site presents poetry from the time of World War I organized by poet. Many of these poems are hard to find elsewhere.
- The Internet Poetry Archive – Sponsored by the University of North Carolina Press and the North Carolina Arts Council, this site presents poetry by a variety of contemporary poets from around the world.
Poetry Reference Resources
- American Verse Project – Sponsored by the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative, this site allows users to search American poems prior to 1920 using word searches and word index.
- Electronic Poetry Center – Sponsored by the University of Buffalo, this site presents a variety of electronic information and links to be used by poets and those studying poetry.
- Online Rhyming Dictionary – This is a unique online rhyming dictionary, in which the user simply types in a word and determines what kind of rhyme he or she wants to find (end rhyme, beginning rhyme, etc.) and a variety of rhyming words are displayed.
- Poet’s Corner – This site provides a vast resource of poetic information, including poems listed by subject index, biographies of poets and some poets’ favorite poems.
- Representative Poetry Online – This site by the University of Toronto Dept. of English presents poems by title, first line, keyword, time line, glossary and more for those studying poetry.
- Rhyme Zone – This is another rhyming site in which the user types in a word and a rhyming word is produced.
- Poetry Translation Centre – This website presents poems in their traditional language and translates them into 20 different languages.
- Glossary of Poetic Terms – This site presents a vast glossary of poetic terms, each featuring examples. The glossary is organized as a searchable database.
- Against National Poetry Month as Such – This satirical website by poet Charles Bernstein presents a humorous essay on why National Poetry Month is a bad idea. It provides a brief amusing reprieve for those studying poetry.
Poetry & Literary Organizations
- Academy of American Poets – This website represents the Academy of American Poets which has been active since 1934. It is an organization that supports American poets and provides programs and recognition for contemporary American poets.
- The Association of Writers and Writing Programs – This organization, which was established in 1967, provides writing programs around the world at over 500 colleges and universities.
- Lannan Foundation – This organization promotes cultural diversity and freedom in literary works. It also gives awards and fellowships to writers and poets.
- Poets & Writers – This organization is the largest non-profit organization in the United States serving poets and writers. Established in 1970, its goal is to help connect writers with tools, conferences, and to network with each other.
- Poetry Society of America – The oldest poetry organization in the United States, the Poetry Society of America is designed to help people enjoy and understand poetry.
- Poet’s House – A national poetry library and literary center in New York City, Poet’s House provides poetry resources, readings, and stimulates discussion on modern poetry.
- National Association for Poetry Therapy – This organization promotes growth and healing through poetry, working in the mental health, geriatric, educational and community settings.
- Electronic Literature Organization – This organization promotes the writing, publishing and reading of literature through electronic media.
- Artists & Writers Alliance Internationale – This organization facilitates the collaboration of artists, writers and other artists around the world.
- National Poetry Foundation – Established in 1971, this organization fosters modern and contemporary poetry and poets.