For poetry lovers and teachers
Contemporary American poetry about human experiences underrepresented in many American literature anthologies
For poets and poetry lovers
An exploration of documentary poetry (a.k.a. docupoetry), a convergence of primary sources and poetry in a variety of mediums
For poets, writers, and artists
Open access digital archives of primary sources containing stories that seldom get much page-space in U.S. history textbooks
Poetry book reviews on the poetry river blog, a resource list of sites to consider for your library's web guide for poetry, and a poetry collection development guide tailored to high schools (in Collection Development section of resources page)
For educators defending poetry
Why does poetry matter? Too many reasons to list. But here's one you may not have heard about yet. A study by Stanford researchers (2011) found that the metaphor used to frame the discussion of an issue is more influential in shaping public opinion about that issue than factors like political affiliation. Why not learn metaphor through poetry?
"The Chart" by Rafael Campo
Poet-physician Rafael Campo’s “The Chart” captures what we lose, in diagnostic accuracy and in ourselves, when we overlook the complex humanity of the people around us.
Campo knows firsthand the way modern medicine’s focus on efficiency and testing can categorize and dehumanize patients, and has witnessed the consequences of relying on lab results and generalities without the context of personal story. Like many of his poems, “The Chart” embodies the empathy he wants patients to find not only in their physicians, but also in their neighbors, teachers, co-workers, and classmates.
The patient in “The Chart” is a “fifty-four-year-old obese Hispanic / female”: categories the speaker individualizes as he predicts who is waiting on the other side of the exam door. He expands Hispanic to Peruvian, Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, and Columbian; he hears their voices – the tamale vendor telling him he’s “too thin” and the drug addict’s perfect Spanish.
In quick sketches, the fifty-four-year-old female becomes someone who is a lady and grandmother, who braids her hair, applies rouge, has a vocation, has lost her youthful beauty,
"hoards the littered papers she collects / and says they are her ‘documents’"
"drunk / on grief. "
The layered meaning of “documents” in this context and the enjambment of “drunk / on grief” illustrate how Campo’s careful choices about craft amplify the poem’s emotional and psychological power...
Read the complete post on the Poetry River blog.