Nature and Animals


  • Daddy Long Legs, by Ted Kooser

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features Iowa-born poet Ted Kooser reading his poem "Daddy Long Legs" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Ted Kooser has said, “I write for other people with the hope that I can help them to see the wonderful things within their everyday experiences. In short, I want to show people how interesting the ordinary world can be if you pay attention.” In this poem, a spider in the basement provides a window into the soul. A poet and an essayist, Ted Kooser spent 35 years in the insurance business, before devoting himself to writing.

    For a biography of the poet Ted Kooser, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • For What Binds Us, by Jane Hirshfield

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Jane Hirshfield reading her poem "For What Binds Us" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. What does it mean to have a relationship over time? Jane Hirshfield wonders in her poetry about different kinds of bonds between people, some of which we cannot anticipate. How much we can really help each other, even the ones we love? How does time change relationships and heal wounds?

    For a biography of the poet Jane Hirshfield please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Stone, by Charles Simic

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Charles Simic reading his poem "Stone." "There's a cult of experience in American poetry,” Charles Simic writes; “Our poets, when one comes right down to it, are always saying: This is what happened to me. This is what I saw and felt. Truth, they never get tired of reiterating, is not something that already exists in the world, but something that needs to be rediscovered almost daily."

    For a biography of the poet Charles Simic please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Turtle, by Kay Ryan

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Kay Ryan reading her poem “Turtle” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Ryan has said that she develops her poems “the way an oyster does, with an aggravation”—is “Turtle” an example of that? Is the narrator’s description of the plodding animal an appreciation of its patience, or just an exasperated list of the turtle’s shortcomings?

    For a biography of the poet Kay Ryan please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Tornado Child, by Kwame Dawes

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Kwame Dawes reading his poem “Tornado Child” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. This poem is from a book by Dawes called Wisteria, Twilight Songs from the Swamp Country, that is based on the lives and memories of elderly black people living in Sumter, South Carolina. “Tornado Child” is an example of the poems in this book that “unfold with the raw honesty of people who have waited for a long time to finally speak their mind.”

    For a biography of the poet Kwame Dawes 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
  • 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
  • Why Are Your Poems So Dark?, by Linda Pastan

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features Bronx born poet Linda Pastan reading her poem "Why Are Your Poems So Dark?" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Linda Pastan’s poems use very simple language and plain statements to describe everyday situations—visiting a museum, taking care of children, listening to a message on an answering machine. But she ends up uncovering the dark worries and threats that hide just below that quiet surface of daily life.

    For a biography of the poet Linda Pastan please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • I started Early—Took my Dog, by Emily Dickinson

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere uses animation to illustrate Emily Dickinson's poem "I started Early—Took my Dog." In writing about the changing nature of the sea, Dickinson's poem explores themes of adventure, escape, and the depths of the self.

    Read "I started Early—Took my Dog" at the Poetry Foundation.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Selected Haiku by Issa

    Originally filmed at the Dodge Poetry Festival, this video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass reading a translation of haiku by the 18th century Japanese poet, Kubayashi Issa. A collection of eight short haiku present vivid, specific, and often funny perceptions of everyday experiences.

    The full text of this poem will be available soon at the Poetry Foundation.

    Grades: 7-12