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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Oct 26, 2023

This week I want to share a wonderful website and resource with you, Melissa Alter Smith’s brainchild, Teach Living Poets.

When I first started teaching poetry, it couldn’t have been clearer to me that students needed modern poets to relate to. Though we eventually enjoyed unpacking poems like Wallace Stevens’ “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” that was only because we started with a lot of performance poetry, modern poems students leaned into and even loved. 

Melissa Alter Smith, founder of the #teachlivingpoets hashtag, creator of the website of the same name, and author of a book on the subject, has created an incredible resource for teachers who want to bring more modern poetry into their classrooms.

Since I interviewed her on the show to share her Amanda Gorman lessons, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on a number of projects with her showcasing other living poets and crafting poetry workshops for teens, and I'm so impressed by her imagination and the way she pushes kids to think deeply about poetry and then express themselves both through analysis and creative writing. 

That’s why today I want to highly recommend you go and check out her work. Take a tour of, visit the amazing virtual library of work available to you there, and find a new poetry workshop to add to your lessons this year. See how your students respond, and then go back for more!

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