Youth and Age


  • The Wild Old Wicked Man, by William Butler Yeats

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features jazz musician Wynton Marsalis reading the poem "The Wild Old Wicked Man" written by his favorite poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats was the most respected of all Irish poets by the time he reached old age. Throughout his career he avoided the “low” subject matter of many other Irish poets, focusing on classical allusions and themes. But in his old age, he found a voice for the lowly thoughts and emotions inside himself—the Wild Old Wicked Man.

    For a biography of the poet William Butler Yeats please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Aunties, by Kevin Young

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features poet Kevin Young reading his poem "Aunties" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. “I feel like a poem is made up of poetic and unpoetic language, or unexpected language,” says Kevin Young; “Aunties” is a good example of allusive language, colloquial language, and poetic images all brought together to describe a wonderful lived experience of family.

    For a biography of poet Kevin Young, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • American Wedding, by Joseph Millar

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Joseph Millar reading his poem “American Wedding” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. A father watches his daughter at her wedding, and is filled with mixed emotions. He is proud of her, he loves her, he knows she is happy and in love, but he can’t help feeling the precariousness of her situation as she prepares to embark on adult life.

    For a biography of the poet Joseph Millar, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    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
  • Brian, Age 7, by Mark Doty

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features poet Mark Doty reading his poem "Brian, Age 7" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Mark Doty’s poems are often about feeling haunted, by people who have died, or places that have been left behind. In “Brian, Age 7”, the poet is moved by the drawing of a boy he has never met, and whose drawing is soon a memory that might be forgotten unless a poem makes it forever memorable.

    For a biography of the poet Mark Doty, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • One Boy Told Me, by Naomi Shihab Nye

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Naomi Shihab Nye reading her poem "One Boy Told Me" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. “Words can give you something back if you trust them,” says Naomi Shihab Nye; “and if you know that you're not trying to proclaim things all the time, but you're trying to discover things.” “One Boy Told Me” is an example of how Nye’s life-affirming poetry lets someone who doesn’t use formal language proclaim his own meaning.

    For a biography of the poet Naomi Shihab NyeNaomi Shihab Nye please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Mother's Day, by Daisy Zamora

    This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features native Nicaraguan poet Daisy Zamora reading her poem "Mother’s Day" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. In politics, Daisy Zamora fought for equality and justice by opposing the dictator Somosa in her native Nicaragua, a stance that led to her banishment until the dictator was overthrown. In poetry, Zamora fights for equality and justice by opposing the norms that are dictated to women by society.

    Grades: 7-12
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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