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Poem Central

Word Journeys with Readers and Writers

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"In everything we have to understand, poetry can help."
—Tony Hoagland, Harper's, April 2013

In Poem Central, Shirley McPhillips helps us better understand the central role poetry can play in our personal lives and in the life of our classrooms. She introduces us to professional poets, teachers, and students -- people of different ages and walks of life -- who are actively engaged in reading and making poems. Their stories and their work show us the power of poems to illuminate the ordinary, to nurture, inspire and stand alongside us for the journey.

Poem Central is divided into three main parts—weaving poetry into our lives and our classrooms, reading poems, and writing poems. Shirley has structured the book in short sections that are easy to read and dip into. Each section has a specific focus, provides background knowledge, shows poets at work, highlights information on crafting, defines poetic terms, features finished work, includes classroom examples, and lists additional resources.

In Poem Central—a place where people and poems meet—teachers and students will discover how to find their way into a poem, have conversations around poems, and learn fresh and exciting ways to make poems. Readers will enjoy the dozens of poems throughout the book that serve to instruct, to inspire, and to send us on unique word journeys of the mind and heart.

About the Author(s)

A classroom teacher for many years, Shirley McPhillips has also worked as a literacy staff developer, writing consultant, educational writer and poet. For several years she was affiliated with The Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Preview the entire book online!

With Gratitude
Part 1: Coming Into a World of Poetry
Poems That Speak to Us
The Soil of Poetry
Building Up a Friendship with Poetry: Structures and Rituals
Poetry MTWTF (aka Poetry Friday)
Young Poets Blogging
Part 2: Reading a Poem: An Immense Intimacy
The Shape of It
Titles Leading Us Into a Poem
The Music of It: Reading for Sound
Connecting with a Poem
Dealing with Difficulty
Poem Talk
Who Is The Speaker in a Poem?
Part 3: Finding Poems, Making Poems
Dances with Words
Poems Waiting to Be Found
Line by Line
The Occasional Poem
Poems for All Seasons
Poets Facing Art: Ekphrastic Poems
Putting on the Mask: Persona Poems
Here's Looking at You: Homage Poems
The Great Shout-Out: Invective Poems
Writing in the Wake of a Poem
Poem Central: The Mystery and Miracle of Words
Resources for Teachers

Product Details

Media: 320 pp/paper
Year: 2014
Item No: WEB-0963
ISBN: 978-157110-963-7
Grade Range: 5-12