The former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins wrote that high school is “all too often the place where poetry goes to die.” He set out on a mission to collect short, clear, contemporary poems, with the idea that teachers could read one per day, for the 180 day school year, and allow students to simply hear and absorb the poetry, with no discussion, explication or quizzes.
This year, schools and communities around Vermont are reading the anthology that resulted from that effort, called “Poetry 180: A Turning Back To Poetry,” as part of Vermont Reads, the Vermont Humanities Council’s state-wide reading program. All this week on Morning Edition, we’ll take a look at how poetry helps young children learn to read, ponder why teenagers love to write poetry and speak with Billy Collins. We’ll also hear from Vermont poets Sydney Lea, Jody Gladding, Major Jackson and Galway Kinnell.
And on Tuesday, May 7th, Vermont Edition will explore why poetry seems to resonate with teenagers, but often gets overlooked by adults.
Vermont Reads was produced by Betty Smith and Melody Bodette, edited by Ross Sneyd. Our technical director is Chris Albertine, and website production by Tim Johnson. Our executive producer is John Van Hoesen. The music for the series is used with permission from the Penguin Café Orchestra.