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  • Edited by Billy Collins
    Introduction by Billy Collins
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Poetry 180

A Turning Back to Poetry

Edited by Billy CollinsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Billy Collins
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A dazzling new anthology of 180 contemporary poems, selected and introduced by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

Inspired by Billy Collins’s poem-a-day program with the Library of Congress, Poetry 180 is the perfect anthology for readers who appreciate engaging, thoughtful poems that are an immediate pleasure.

A 180-degree turn implies a turning back—in this case, to poetry. A collection of 180 poems by the most exciting poets at work today, Poetry 180 represents the richness and diversity of the form, and is designed to beckon readers with a selection of poems that are impossible not to love at first glance. Open the anthology to any page and discover a new poem to cherish, or savor all the poems, one at a time, to feel the full measure of contemporary poetry’s vibrance and abundance.

With poems by Catherine Bowman, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Dana Gioia, Edward Hirsch, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Philip Levine, Thomas Lux, William Matthews, Frances Mayes, Paul Muldoon, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Katha Pollitt, Mary Jo Salter, Charles Simic, David Wojahn, Paul Zimmer, and many more.



A FEW YEARS AGO I FOUND MYSELF ON A CIRCUIT OF readings, traveling around the Midwest from podium to podium. One stop was at an enormous high school south of Chicago. Despite its daunting size—picture a row of lockers receding into infinity—the school holds a “Poetry Day” every year featuring an exuberant range of activities, including poems set to music by students and performed by the high school chorus and a ninety-piece orchestra. As featured poet that year, I found myself caught up in the high spirits of the day, which seemed to be coming directly from the students themselves, rather than being faculty-imposed. After reading to a crowded auditorium, I was approached by a student who presented me with a copy of the school newspaper containing an article she had written about poetry. In that article, I found a memorable summary of the discomfort so many people seem to experience with poetry. “Whenever I read a modern poem,” this teenage girl wrote, “it’s like my brother has his foot on the back of my neck in the swimming pool.”

Poetry 180 was inspired by the desire to remove poetry far from such scenes of torment. The idea behind this printed collection, which is a version of the Library of Congress “180” website, was to assemble a generous selection of short, clear, contemporary poems which any listener could basically “get” on first hearing—poems whose injection of pleasure is immediate. The original website, which continues to be up and running strong, www.loc.gov/poetry/180, is part of a national initiative I developed shortly after being appointed United States Poet Laureate in 2001. The program is called “Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools.” In creating it, I had hoped the program would suggest to young people the notion that poetry can be a part of everyday life as well as a subject to be studied in the classroom. On the website, I ask high school teachers and administrators to adopt the program by having a new poem read every day—one for each of the roughly 180 days of the school year—as part of the public announcements. Whether the poems are read over a PA system or at the end of a school assembly, students can hear poetry on a daily basis without feeling any pressure to respond. I wanted teachers to refrain from commenting on the poems or asking students “literary” questions about them. No discussion, no explication, no quiz, no midterm, no seven-page paper—just listen to a poem every morning and off you go to your first class.

I might not have come up with such an ambitious national plan—or any plan at all—were it not for the energetic efforts made by previous laureates to spread the word of poetry far and wide. Prior to the democratizing efforts of Joseph Brodsky, who envisioned poetry being handed out at supermarkets and planted in the bed tables of motel rooms next to the Gideon Bible, the post of poet laureate was centered at the Library of Congress in Washington, specifically in a spacious suite of rooms at the top of the magnificent Jefferson Building, complete with a balcony and, as one visi- tor put it, a “CNN view” of the Capitol. In those days, the position was called “Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress”—admittedly, a mouthful with a businesslike sound. It was the habit of many Consultants to relocate to Washington, go to the office a few days a week, and—I can only imagine—wait for the phone to ring. You never knew when some senator would be curious to know who wrote “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” According to Mary Jarrell’s memoir, she and Randall took advantage of his tenure in the nation’s capital by enjoying cultural offerings such as the Budapest string quartet. Maxine Kumin invited Washington-area schoolchildren to the Poetry Room. Robert Penn Warren wisely devoted one of his terms to the writing of All the King’s Men. But by the time I took office, the laureateship had evolved into a seat from which resourceful plans for the national dissemination of poetry were being launched. And so Poetry 180 became my contribution.

High school is the focus of my program because all too often it is the place where poetry goes to die. While poetry offers us the possibility of modulating our pace, adolescence is commonly driven by the wish to accelerate, to get from zero to sixty in a heartbeat or in a speed-shop Honda. And de- spite the sometimes heroic efforts of dedicated teachers, many adolescents find poetry—to use their term of ultimate condemnation—boring. What some students experience when they are made to confront a poem might be summed up in a frustrating syllogism:

I understand English.

This poem is written in English.

I have no idea what this poem is saying.

What is “the misfit witch blocks my quantum path?” a reader might well ask. What’s up with “a waveform leaps in my belly”? What’s a reader to do in the face of such unyielding obtuseness?

But let us hear from the other side of the room. If there is no room in poetry for difficulty, where is difficulty to go? Just as poetry provides a home for ambiguity, it offers difficulty a place to be dramatized if not solved. “Even in our games,” asserts John Ciardi, “we demand difficulty.” Which explains why hockey is played on ice and why chess involves more than two warring queens chasing each other around the board. During the heyday of Pound, Eliot, Stevens, and Crane—that Mount Rushmore of modernism—difficulty became a criterion for appraising poetic value. The difficulty of composition was extended to the compass of the reader’s experience. Opacity became so closely associated with modernist poetry that readers fled in droves into the waiting arms of novelists, where they could relax in the familiar surroundings of social realism. Of course, the conceptual demands some poems make on their reader can provide an essential pleasure, but this is hardly a recommended starting place for readers interested in reclaiming their connection to poetry. Lacking the experience to distinguish between legitimate difficulty and obscurity for its own sake, some readers give up entirely. Randall Jarrell said that poetry was so difficult to write, why should it be difficult to read. Clarity is the real risk in poetry. To be clear means opening yourself up to judgment. The willfully obscure poem is a hiding place where the poet can elude the reader and thus make appraisal impossible, irrelevant—a bourgeois intrusion upon the poem. Which is why much of the commentary on obscure poetry produces the same kind of headache as the poems themselves.

Of course, the more difficult the poem, the more de- pendent students are on their teachers. Knotty poems give teachers more to explain; but the classroom emphasis on what a poem means can work effectively to kill the poetry spirit. Too often the hunt for Meaning becomes the only approach; literary devices form a field of barbed wire that students must crawl under to get to “what the poet is try- ing to say,” a regrettable phrase which implies that every poem is a failed act of communication. Explication may dominate the teaching of poetry, but there are other ways to increase a reader’s intimacy with a poem. A reader can write the poem out, just as Keats or Frost did, or learn how to say a poem out loud, or even internalize a poem by memorizing it. The problem is that none of these activities requires the presence of a teacher. Ideally, interpretation should be one of the pleasures poetry offers. Unfortu- nately, too often it overshadows the other pleasures of meter, sound, metaphor, and imaginative travel, to name a few.

POETRY 180 WAS ALSO MEANT TO EXPOSE HIGH SCHOOL students to the new voices in contemporary poetry. Even if teachers try to keep up with the poetry of the day, textbooks and anthologies typically lag behind the times. My rough count of one popular introductory text has dead authors beating out living ones at a ratio of nine to one. And oddly enough, many of the poems that are still presented as examples of “modern” poetry—Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” or Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”—were written more than seventy-five years ago. With a few exceptions, the poems selected for the Poetry 180 website and this book were chosen with the idea of catching the sounds, rhythms, and attitudes of poetry written much more recently. Some of the poems culled from literary magazines are no more than a year or two old. I ruled out any poem that had become a standard offering in textbooks and anthologies. I wanted also to include voices that were not well known. Quite a few of these poems were written by poets I had not heard of before I started scouting for the poems that would suit the purposes of Poetry 180. Assembling this anthology gave me a chance to further the cause of some of my favorite poems and also to discover poets who were new to me. The more I searched for poems, the more I became convinced that regardless of what other kinds of poems will be written in years to come, clear, reader-conscious poems are the ones that will broaden the audience of poetry beyond the precincts of its practitioners.

ADMITTEDLY, SOME OF THESE POEMS WERE SELECTED TO appeal to the interests of high school students. Mark Halliday and Jim Daniels both have poems about cars. Nick Flynn writes about the suspension of physical laws in cartoons. Edward Hirsch has a poem about basketball, and Louis Jenkins has one on football. There are poems about mothers and sons, fathers and daughters. And poems about teaching and learning. Tom Wayman’s hilarious and touching “Did I Miss Anything?” will appeal to anyone who has ever missed a class and then had the temerity to ask the teacher that impertinent question. But this anthology is meant for everyone, even if you somehow managed to avoid high school—that crucible where character is formed and where, as one student pointed out, they even make you read The Crucible.

One of the most haunting topics in literary discussion (right up there with the “Death of the Novel”) is the disappearance of the audience for poetry. Joyce Carol Oates has pointed out the lamentable fact that the number of poetry readers in this country is about the same as the number of people who write poetry. Based on my confrontations with students who want to write poetry but have no interest in reading it, I would say the poets might slightly outnumber the readers. Such a ratio should be kept in mind whenever we hear people extolling the phenomenon of a “poetry renaissance” in America. Yes, more poetry books are being published, and there are more contests, prizes, slams, open-mike nights, and MFA programs; but a large part of these activities take place within a closed circuit. In recent years, poetry has gained momentum as a cultural force, but much of its energy is expended tracing the same circle it has always moved in, appealing to the same insider audience.

Poetry need not be read by everyone—lots of intense activities have small audiences—but surely this distressing ratio can be changed so that poetry is enjoyed by people who have no professional interest in becoming poets. Poetry 180 is one of many efforts to change the ratio, to beckon people back to poetry by offering them a variety of poems that might snag their interest. I am convinced that for every nonreader of poetry there is a poem waiting to reconnect them to poetry. If a student hears a poem every day, the odds of he or she encountering the right poem increases dramatically. Ideally, Poetry 180 was aimed at creating a cognitive dissonance in students who “hate poetry” by exposing them to a poem they find themselves loving irresistibly.

THIS COLLECTION IS NOT AN EXACT TRANSCRIPTION OF the poems on the Poetry 180 website. Putting the poems into book form made it possible to include longer poems as well as poems that came to my attention after the website was put up. The website itself has movable parts; it is a kind of poetry jukebox where the songs can be changed and updated to keep the offerings fresh, especially for schools that want to continue to use the program one semester after another. This book, like all printed books, is fixed, but it includes as many different voices as possible to give a sense of the diverse chorus that is singing the songs of American poetry these days.

Unlike a book of prose fiction, which you read straight through following the rabbit of the plot, there are all sorts of ways to read a collection of poems. You can look up poets you are familiar with, you can flip through the pages looking for a title that grabs you, a shape that invites you in. Or you can read the collection cover to cover, forwards or backwards. But with Poetry 180, there is something to be said for starting at the beginning and reading just a poem or two each day. Like pills, for the head and the heart.

FOR MY OWN PART, POETRY 180 HAS BEEN A PLEASURE and a challenge. Finding the first one hundred poems was fairly easy. I just spun my mental Rolodex of contemporary poems that I liked well enough to remember. Locating the remaining eighty was harder, which might say something about the narrow bounds of my taste or the limited store of smart, clear, contemporary poems. I experienced the privilege of any anthologizer of being in control of the selections and thus being able to express through publication the kind of poetry I favor. With its original focus on high school audiences, Poetry 180 has a public service ring to it, but it is also, admittedly, a big bouquet of poems that I happen to like. To borrow Fran Liebowitz’s musical aesthetics: good poems are poems I like and bad poems are poems I don’t like. Putting that egocentric position aside, welcome to Poetry 180. Flip through the book and pick a poem, any poem. I know every one is an ace, or at least a face card, because I personally rigged the deck.
Billy Collins

About Billy Collins

Billy Collins - Poetry 180

Photo © Joann Carney

Billy Collins is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. A Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute of Rollins College, he was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and Poet Laureate of New York State from 2004 to 2006.
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate, believes poetry should be accessible to everyone, and everyone should have the chance to enjoy it. In Poetry 180 and 180 More, Collins sets out to help American high school English teachers and students correct the disconnect between adolescents and poetry appreciation.

To that end, Collins has hand-picked every single poem in these anthologies using three guidelines: (1) accessibility (2) quality; and (3) as he explains in the second book, 180 More, “on their willingness to deliver immediate injections of pleasure” (Collins, 180 More, xxii). He also strives to introduce students to “new voices in contemporary poetry,” including many not yet especially famous (Collins, Poetry 180, xx). He points out that in the typical anthology “dead authors beat out living ones at a ratio of nine to one” and has chosen to rule out poems that have become “a standard offering in textbooks or anthologies” (Collins, Poetry 180, xx).

Using Poetry 180 and 180 More
Billy Collins’ preferred plan for using Poetry 180 and 180 More is to have one poem read aloud each day by a different member of the school community (with representatives of every segment taking part, from administrators to members of the grounds crew to students–everyone). The thinking behind this parallels Collins’ philosophy about poetry in general: by introducing students to poetry outside the classroom context, students will come to the poetry without preconceived notions, and without the sense of intimidation that many feel when faced with the task of interpreting a poem. Collins suggests that, by making poetry enjoyable (rather than a chore), students will begin to appreciate the art form. Subsequently, students may be more receptive to further instruction.

But Poetry 180 and 180 More certainly do not have to be used for one all-school poem every day; any regular schedule of reading is preferable to no poetry at all. Indeed, the books have definite advantages for use in the classroom as introductory poetry anthologies: both present a wide array of poetic voices and provide biographical information for each poet.

Whether broadcast to the whole school or used at each individual teacher’s discretion, Collins emphasizes that he has chosen poems that need to be read aloud for full effect. He has some suggestions for ensuring that the oral readers are set up for success:

(1) Readers need time to practice reading their poems out loud with a listener, preferably an English teacher
(2) Readers should recite their poems slowly (every word can be important in a poem)
(3) Readers should use a normal voice and not attempt a theatrical performance
(4) As readers practice, they should be cognizant that unless there is punctuation at the end of a line, the reader’s voice should not stop but continue to the next line without pause.
(5) The reader should look in the dictionary for the meaning and especially the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. (Collins, “How to Read a Poem Out Loud”)

Collins also suggests these other ways for students to interact with a poem:
(1) “write the poem out, just as Keats and Frost did” (Collins, Poetry 180, xix)
(2) “internalize a poem by memorizing it” (Collins, Poetry 180, xix).


Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience–enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio–includes people of all backgrounds and age groups. The poems themselves best explain this phenomenon. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment
of lyric surprise. No wonder Billy Collins sees his poetry as "a form of travel writing" and considers humor "a door into the serious."

Billy Collins has published seven collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, Nine Horses, and, most recently, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems. In Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, Collins beckons readers to return to poetry with an anthology of poems that exposes the richness and diversity of the form. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar.

Included among the honors Billy Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize - all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He has been a writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence College, and served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library. He is a
Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years. In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003). In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06.


An educational theory known as Reader-Response is a good means for accomplishing Billy Collins’ goal of increasing Americans’ lifelong involvement with poetry. Reader-Response Theory involves having students read and attempt to form and articulate their own thoughts and feelings about a piece of literature. Many researchers feel that this method is a far more effective way to promote lifelong reading and engagement with literature than listening to someone else’s opinions.

As students become comfortable developing their own thoughts and feelings about a poem, interaction with their classmates will be a natural response. Robert Probst, a Reader Response theorist, provides some guiding principles for the classroom to facilitate personal response and sharing of those responses:

1. Invite response to the text.
2. Give students time to shape and take confidence in their responses.
3. Find the links among the students’ responses
4. Invite writing about self, text, other and the culture of society
5. Let the talk grow as naturally as possible, encouraging organic flow of the discussion.
6. Look back to other texts, other discussions, other experiences.
7. Look for the next step (prepare for the next read). (Probst 42-43)

As teachers, our goal will be to facilitate student response to the poetry in Poetry 180 and 180 More so that they can achieve an understanding of the poem, communicate their thoughts and feelings to others, and develop a lifetime love for poetry. Using the Reader-Response theory will help us with this, but we, as educators, have a lifetime of career preparation and knowledge that is valuable and ought to be shared with the students: it’s just a matter of sharing the appropriate things at the appropriate times and letting the students participate in their own experience as much as possible.

A poetry response journal is a good way to help students process their reading and thinking about the poems they read. The teacher can have students share what they have written with partners, groups and/or the whole class. Progressive sharing (from small to large groups) will help them to articulate what they have to say, and may provide a springboard for writing assignments such as literary analysis. Teachers can also read the journals and respond to student entries individually, an act that helps to create a sense of audience. The teacher’s goal in responding is not to tell students whether or not they interpreted the poem correctly, but rather to show interest in each student’s attempt to find meaning. This can be accomplished through comments in the margin or a brief paragraph at the end of a section.

Literature response journals of any kind can be a great teaching and learning tool, but as middle school teacher Linda Berger points out in “Reader Response Journals: You make the Meaning . . . and How,” as you begin using Reader-Response journals for the first time, many students will need your help as they learn how to do it, especially if they are not accustomed to interpreting literature for themselves (380-385). Berger’s usage of journals elicited two common responses: summarizing a piece rather than responding to it; and the exact opposite–expressing an opinion/feeling with no explanation or references to the lines of the poem. To facilitate a more meaningful response, Berger and her students brainstormed solutions and generated four questions:

1. What do you notice?
2. What do you question?
3. What do you feel?
4. What do you relate to? (Berger 381)

Building on Berger’s experiences, teachers of Poetry 180 might take the students through poems early in the book, early in the school year, for a guided practice with these four questions, using the ideas/responses generated by the whole class in a discussion as a model. Students should understand that they are not assigned to answer these questions with every poem, but rather can consider the questions to be a fall-back position when they are finding difficulty articulating their personal responses to a poem.

Billy Collins opening poem in Poetry 180, “Introduction to Poetry” is a good one to use for demonstrating how to use the poetry response journal. As with all the poems, the best practice is to read them out loud, and if they are read to the whole school, the teacher may want to have the poem read at least one more time in the classroom, a practice most poetry teachers recommend. As we begin the process, it’s okay to do some coaching , and especially important to help students get a sense of what Collins wants the reader to understand about not just poetry but poetry reading. Ask students to consider Collins’ lines:
“. . . tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.”

And ask what point he is trying to make about the most common approach to the study of poetry. Ask them to compare those lines with:

“. . . waterski across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.”

The teacher might, at this point, ask all students to write in their poetry response journals a brief answer to the questions:

1. At what point does analyzing a poem go too far?
2. How do you interpret the term “accessible” as it is used to refer to poetry?

After students seem to have finished writing down their thoughts, ask them to share their responses with the class. The teacher can brainstorm with the students what elements of poetry might be useful for reference as they write in their response journals, such as: metaphor, simile, personification, connotation, sensory imagery, metonymy, irony, allusion, meter, rhyme scheme, etc. This is not to say that students are required to refer to so many devices of poetry per entry, but rather to introduce a set of tools they may find useful. Be sure to give a model/example, such as this one about “Introduction to Poetry”:

What do you notice?
I notice the change in connotations at the point in the poem where we go from “waterskiing,” which surely has good connotations and evokes images and memories of fun and enjoyment, to “torture a confession,” obviously evoking negative images of the kind most people only experience vicariously through the movies or reading a spy novel. Personally, I would rather waterski across these poems than

Another poem the class might discuss as a whole in preparation for using the two books is current Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s poem, which is second in the series, “Selecting a Reader.” Like Collins, Kooser is very conscious of the accessibility of poetry, and discussing this poem as a class will help students to consider the connection/relationship between the poet and the reader. In addition to using Berger’s four Reader-Response questions, the teacher might ask:

1. What did you find surprising or unexpected?
2. Did you find anything ironic?


1. Silent Discussion: Create five to eight stations in the classroom consisting of tables with large sheets of butcher paper (about three feet long) or poster board taped to the center of each table. On each sheet of paper or poster board, tape one of the poems in the center, leaving room all around for students to write. Students are to rotate from table to table, in groups or individually. At each table they read the poem and write a personal response of some kind to the poem in colored pencil, marker or crayon (the teacher can model doing this and can list a sampling of response types: agree/disagree, personal connection, relevance of poem to age level, anything that strikes the reader about the poem). Students rotate from table to table (a different poem at each table). As they arrive, they must first read the poem, then read the responses of others, and then write their own response to the poem.

2. Individual Expert
. Students choose a poem, poems, poet or poets from Collins’ collections and prepare to talk about the poet and read a poem or poems by that poet. The students may choose what they think is important to discuss from that poet’s life or the teacher may suggest categories for research.

3. Poetry Circles.
Small groups use a rotating leader position in which one student is responsible for chairing the discussion and reporting to the larger class about the groups discussion of a poem. Each student gets a copy of the poem, and the teacher reads the poem out loud. A student then reads the poem out loud, and from this reading the teacher provides information on words or syntax that appear unfamiliar. The teacher asks whether the students have any questions about the poem that are not related to interpreting the verse. The teacher encourages students to answer these questions themselves, if they can. Then a student reads the same poem out loud followed by all students in the group taking time to read it silently. Each student then makes one statement of first response to the poem, a statement to which others may not respond. Everyone has a turn. At this point students no longer need speak in order, but as they take a turn, they must first read the word, phrase, line or passage upon which they are commenting. At any point when a stalemate is reached, they are to again read the actual lines of the poem. Halfway through the discussion and again at the end of the discussion the group rereads the entire poem. At the end of the discussion the group prepares a report that takes into account all members’ thoughts and comments about their experience of the poem. The whole class comes together and each group reports. The teacher refrains from influencing the content of reports or discussion, but may ask probing questions at the very end, provided they are inspired by the groups’ reports. The teacher refrains from giving a final “this is the correct information about the poem” lecture. (Dias, 48-49)


Poetry 180

Billy Collins: The Academy of American Poets

Billy Collins: PBS Interview

The Poems of Billy Collins at PoemHunter.com

America’s Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress:

Vandergraff’s Reader Response Criticism and Resources


Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space
Introduction by Bill Murray
Random House Audio | Unabridged Compact Disc | 0-7393-2011-4 | $19.95

Nine Horses Poems
Random House | Trade Paperback | 0-375-75520-9 | $12.95

Poetry 180 A Turning Back to Poetry
Random House | Trade Paperback | 0-8129-6887-5 | $13.95

Sailing Alone Around the Room New and Selected Poems
Random House | Trade Paperback | 0-375-75519-5 | $13.95

The Trouble with Poetry And Other Poems
Random House | Hardcover | | 0-375-50382-X | $22.95


This teacher's guide was created by James Blasingame, Jr., assistant professor of English at Arizona State University (ASU), in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Blasingame works in the teacher preparation program at ASU, where he teaches methods classes and supervises student teachers. He is the coauthor of Teaching Writing in the Middle and Secondary Schools (Pearson Prentice Hall) and the author of They Rhymed with Their Boots: A Teacher’s Guide to Cowboy Poetry (The Writing Conference, Inc.). He is coeditor of The ALAN Review and creates the Books for Adolescents section of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Dr. Blasingame was a high school English teacher for eighteen years before joining higher education.

Berger, (1996). “Reader Response Journals: You make the Meaning and How.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 39.5: 380-385.

Collins, Billy. Poetry 180, “How to Read a Poem Out Loud” http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/p180-howtoread.html

Dias, Patrick, and Micahel Hayhoe. (1988). Developing Response to Poetry. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Karolides, Nicholas J. (1992). The transactional theory of literature. Reader Response in the Classroom. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Koch, Kenneth. (1998). Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Library of Congress. (2005). “Poet Laureate.” The Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress. Retreived March 15, 2005, from http://www.loc.gov/poetry/laureate.html#about

Probst, Robert. (1994). “Reader Response Theory and the English Curriculum. English Journal, 83, 3: 37-44.

Rosenblatt, Louise. (1938). Literature as Exploration. New York: Appleton Century.

Rockford, Sam C. (2002) Reader-Response: The “I” in Literature. Ottawa, KS: The Writing Conference, Inc.

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