Pick a Poem: Poetry Response Blog

Poetry can make the ineffable effable. It can capture a moment, an experience, a feeling, or a question. It can speak to you, for you, and about you. Poetry is alive, thriving, and ready to be explored. This year, we’ll be taking a look at some poets who are currently writing and contributing to this important genre.

Your task:

Each month, choose a poem written by a contemporary poet and post to your poetry blog a careful, thoughtful, well-considered, and well-crafted analysis of it.

What it is:

What MUST be in a Poetry Response Blog (PRB):

What COULD be in a PRB[1]:

  1. A general statement of the poem’s content
  2. An analysis of the poet’s persona or the poem’s speaker
  3. A  discussion of the title’s significance
  4. A detailed response to a specific line or lines
  5. An examination of poetic techniques used, such as rhyme, rhythm, simile, metaphor, personification, allusion…
  6. A close analysis of the poet’s diction, perhaps noting specific word choices, or connotation and denotation
  7. A paraphrase of the poem
  8. A discussion of the writer's life and its relevance to the poem (adequately cited)
  9. A statement relating the poem to your experience or ideas
  10. An explanation of problems you had in understanding the poem
  11. Your opinion of the poem, good or bad, supported by specific references from the poem
  12. Connect your poem to a visual text or piece of art (include visual in blog post) and discuss how these two works complement/relate to each other
  13. Research your living poet’s life and discuss how this background information enhances the meaning of your selected poem. Include hyperlinks.
  14. Connect your living poet’s poem to a poem written by a non-living poet--be sure to include a link to this poem as well, include the author’s name and the year the poem was written or published.
  15. Write your own mentor text poem inspired by a work from your poet--include in the title “After …..or On Reading...” Discuss how the poet’s work influenced your own and by doing this analyze the original work.
  1. Connect your poem to social commentary and societal happenings that are referenced or reflected in your poem. Be sure to hyperlink to respectable news sources and possibly to social media to show reactions. Bring it all back to the analysis of the poem.
  2. Find two poems by the same poet that contrast one another in some form (ex: tone, form, style, etc.) and discuss the choices and their effect
  3. Connect your poet to a current musical artist or connect one of his/her poems to a song
  4. Create a vlog to post to your blog site. This must be between 4-6 minutes. This must be a well-edited full analysis of the poem.
  5. Create a #booksnapsREAL story about your poem. You will take photo of the poem and your annotations, screen shots the booksnaps, and put them into your blog post.  Minimum of 6 booksnaps with additional commentary. Use this link to understand the concept and follow the hashtag.

OFFICIAL DUE DATES for each blog:










I will not “grade” usage and mechanics, but in order to receive full credit, your work must be on time, include all required information, and include three fully developed paragraphs. You should aim to write ALL blogs in our own authentic voice, taking care to use language vividly, effectively, creatively, and taking writerly risks you might not feel comfortable doing in other genres.

Otherwise, I will use the following guidelines:

STAR = EXCELLENT, top tier, exemplary


CHECK = GOOD, successfully meets requirements

CHECK MINUS = ATTEMPTED, parts missing, less than satisfactory reasoning

MINUS = UNSATISFACTORY, incomplete, lacks effort

EXCELLENT essays will have clarity of thought and of language.

EXCELLENT essays will demonstrate thorough understanding of poem.

EXCELLENT essays will have a voice that is conversational but thoughtful.

EXCELLENT essays will show evidence of time and effort.

EXCELLENT essays will take intellectual risks.


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/ 

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 

[1] #1-11 and original assignment courtesy of http://mseffie.com/assignments/poetry/poetrylrj.html. #12-20 courtesy of Mrs. Nestor