About Poetry River
I've been connecting students, word lovers, and educators with poetry for over twenty years - as a poet-librarian, teacher, and writing mentor. Curating Poetry River is another way to facilitate these connections, linking visitors to poems, readings, interviews, essays, blog posts, lesson plans, and articles available from The Poetry Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, The Writer's Almanac, Poetry Out Loud, Poetry 180, and similar sites (see resources for a full list).
Poetry River centers on poems and related resources openly accessible online so that any writer, reader, or educator who can access the Internet can read them without getting out a credit card. This applies to poems selected as featured poems as well.
Similarly, the reviews on Poetry River differ from most reviews in three ways:
Swept into poetry's flow
My enchantment with words and poetry began in rural northern New Jersey where I grew up. On the grassy bank of a pond, a granite outcropping on a hillside, or in the shade of the black walnut tree in our front yard, I'd dig a stubby pencil and small, bent spiral notebook out of my pocket and jot down short poems about nature.
Thankfully, school nurtured my appreciation for poetry rather than stifling it. A few years after my family relocated to Virginia, one particular English and creative writing teacher, Jeanne Hildebrand, intensified my enthusiasm with her inventive lessons. She also piqued my interest in teaching. After teaching for awhile, I shifted roles to librarian, a profession that allows me to combine teaching and literature with my fascination for science, technology, and a multitude of other subjects.
At Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, where I currently serve as the librarian, I have the opportunity to mentor young poets, recommend poems related to the themes of students' personal anthologies, and collaborate with teachers to integrate poetry into many subjects and projects, including genealogy, military history, and novel studies of The Things They Carried and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Reading the river
I immerse myself in poetry regularly, reading poems nearly every day and reveling in celebrations like Split this Rock and the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.
I admire several poets from my schooldays, including Dickinson, Whitman, Hughes, Brooks, and Rich, and countless I've read since, including Nikky Finney, Mark Doty, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tracy K. Smith, Stanley Kunitz, Marilyn Nelson, Li Young Lee, Dorianne Laux, Mark Turcotte, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Lucille Clifton, Mary Oliver, Patricia Smith, and Ellen Bass.
When poems move from page to stage, I marvel at the candor, cadence, and courage of poets like Andrea Gibson, Staceyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, VCU's slam team, Slam Nahuatl, and the mesmerizing verse of modern-day griot Kurtis Lamkin.
Every month I discover more poets whose work moves me.
wendy [at] poetryriver [dot] org
Poetry River updates
Annual River Report and periodic updates about new or revised resources.