Memory


  • Blackbottom, by Toi Derricotte

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Toi Derricotte reading her poem “Blackbottom” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Identity is a central human concern: who am I? Where does identity come from? How much is assigned to us at birth (male, female, black, white, rich, poor), and how much is assigned to us during our lives, as other people try to fit us into stereotypes? How much of our identity do we finally create ourselves?

    For a biography of the poet Toi Derricotte, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Dancing, by Gerald Stern

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Gerald Stern reading his poem "The Dancing" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. A poetry reviewer once wrote about Gerald Stern that his poems “[reveal] his emotions while revealing almost nothing about their origins.” “The Dancing” is filled with emotions that build to a terrible climax—but why?

    For a biography of the poet Gerald Stern, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Dust, by Dorianne Laux

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Dorianne Laux reads her poem “Dust” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. "Poems keep us conscious of the importance of our individual lives,” says Laux. “Dust” examines a fleeting moment of connection that is swept aside and mostly lost in the busy activity of an average day.

    For a biography of the poet Dorianne Laux, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • What Kind of Times Are These, by Adrienne Rich

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Adrienne Rich reading her poem "What Kinds of Times Are These" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. The poem, responding to a line by the poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, explores politics and place.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Floral Apron, by Marilyn Chin

    “What is the loss of country if it were not the loss of self?” This is the question Marilyn Chin asks in much of her poetry. This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features Chin, at the Dodge Poetry Festival, reading her poem “The Floral Apron” in which an immigrant woman keeps Chinese tradition alive in America, for the next generation, and for herself, but is she doing the right thing?

    For a biography of the poet Marilyn Chin please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • A Partial History of My Stupidity, by Edward Hirsch

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Edward Hirsch reading his poem "A Partial History of My Stupidity" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Edward Hirsch is drawn to writing about wandering alone in the night, when a person’s thoughts can’t be hidden or drowned out by daily activities, work, or other people’s words. Facing up to what is really on your mind is the exhilarating and scary result of  this night-time wandering.

    For a biography of the poet Edward Hirsch please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper, by Martin Espada

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Martín Espada reading his poem “Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Fighting for justice is a constant theme in Martín Espada’s poetry. Here, in “Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper”, a seemingly good situation (a young man working his way up from factory work to law school) is undermined by the injustice built into every aspect of society, right down to the paper he writes on.

    For a biography of the poet Martín Espada please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Belle Isle, 1949, by Philip Levine

    In this video segment from Poetry Breaks, poet Philip Levine reads his poem, "Belle Isle, 1949," about a late night meeting and swim that takes place between two strangers. The poem explores themes of connection, boundaries, and where we come from.

    Read "Belle Isle, 1949" at the Poetry Foundation.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Touch Me, by Stanley Kunitz

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Stanley Kunitz reading his poem "Touch me" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Stanley Kunitz wrote about new life—renewal, shaking off old habits and ideas, and the cycle of life and death. His poetry was always changing, and he continued to write new poems until his death at age 100 in 2006; in fact, he became Poet Laureate at the age of 95.

    For a biography of the poet Stanley Kunitz please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Lanyard, by Billy Collins

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Billy Collins reading his poem "The Lanyard" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. The poem describes a memory of making a childhood gift at camp for his mother. Using humor and irony, the poem illustrates how ordinary objects can connect to powerful memories.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Facing It, by Yusef Komunyakaa

    Fourteen years after the Vietnam War, veteran and contemporary poet Yusef Komunyakaa wrote about facing the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial wall and the memories and images the wall evoked. In this video segment from Poetry Everywhere, Komunyakaa reads his poem, "Facing It" at the Dodge Poetry Festival.

    Read "Facing It" at the Poetry Foundation.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Forgetfulness, by Billy Collins

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features former Poet Laureate Billy Collins reading his poem "Forgetfulness" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. The poem ranges through a catalog of things known and now forgotten. Collins uses humor and irony to take us through the experience of memory loss.

    For a biography of poet Billy Collins, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12