In 2010, Poetry In Voice created a recitation contest for senior high school students. Since then, we’ve developed the best online resources for teaching poetry in grades 6 through 12. Like thousands of other teachers across Canada, you’ll find exactly what you need here to get your students fired up about reading, reciting, and writing poetry.
New ideas for your next poetry class
Shared Poetry Reading: Teaching Print Concepts, Rhyme, and Vocabulary
Although phonological awareness is important for early reading comprehension, other skills are equally important as students develop their reading abilities. Designed to facilitate successful early reading for kindergarten students, this lesson teaches the acquisition of vocabulary, one-to-one…
Talking Poetry with Blabberize
In this lesson students are given the opportunity to be imaginative and expressive through the writing of three types of poems: acrostic, diamante, and theme. Building on their creativity, students then use Blabberize to create Blabbers of one of their poems. Sharing their Blabbers with the…
Swish! Pow! Whack! Teaching Onomatopoeia through Sports Poetry
Students explore different poems written about sports by reading and listening, looking closely at the use of onomatopoeia in each piece. After a discussion of the poems, students view a segment of a sporting event and generate a list of sounds used in that event. Using their lists as a…
Reconciliation cannot take place before awareness, and the feelings of commonality and connection. Reading poetry by Indigenous poets, such as Liz Howard and Alootook Ipellie, we can grow in our awareness of the lives and issues faced by various First Nations, Metis and Inuit groups. Through…
A glosa is a poem that organizes itself around four lines borrowed from another poem. A form invented in Spain in the fifteenth century, the glosa begins with the borrowed four lines set off as an epigraph. The poet then writes four stanzas of ten lines each, with each stanza ending on a line…
The Connection between Poetry and Music
Music helps children develop rhythmic intelligence and notice rhythm in language, which are important skills in learning how to read and developing fluency as readers. In this lesson, students listen to poems read aloud, and they discuss the rhythm and sound of poetry. Students then perform poems…
Canada in 2016
In this lesson, students will be invited to annotate Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “England in 1819” with questions, comments, and connections (preferably on a whiteboard/smart board where the poem is projected, for a collaborative process.) Through discussing the results, students will explore the…
How to DISRUPT your poem: A deep reading method to ignite the interpretive process
Understanding a poem is not a linear process, and each reader’s journey towards understanding will be unique to them. However, there are certain deep reading habits that will help all readers become more invested in the meaning of their poem, and to take ownership over their interpretation. The…
Old & New Thinking
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Styles may transform over time, along with social mores, laws and priorities and even the standards by which we treat one another across cultures and genders and generations. But the ways we yearn, the ways we love, the ways we hate, the ways…
Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry
In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students begin by reading and discussing several poems inspired by works of art. Through the discussion, students learn ways in which poets can approach a piece of artwork (for instance, writing about the scene being depicted in…
Just like learning a language, translating a poem is all about making mistakes and testing the limits of our creativity! In this series of lessons, students try their hand at translating poems from English to French and French to English. Translation is framed as a fun, accessible, and…
Poet In Class
Bring a poet into your classroom - for free!
Sharon Berg lives on the eastern coast of Newfoundland. She writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that focuses on First Nations history and education. She founded Big Pond Rumours International Literary E-Zine (for poetry, fiction and book reviews) and its associated Chapbook Press in January 2006 and closed it with the Summer issue in August 2019. She also taught elementary school for many years, as well as conducting education seminars at the university level. She can adapt her observations and comments about writing to a variety of grade levels. She connects with students of all abilities and knows that students learn best when a) they are having fun, and b) they are using multiple skills. Sharon believes that poetry is not a staid old art but a relevant and exciting opportunity for self-expression. She enjoys asking students to create 3D poetry, wherein art, geometry, and poetry are combined on one geometric shape, such as an illustrated haiku on a tetrahedron (or triangle-based pyramid).
Gavin Barrett is a poet and the author of Understan, a new collection of poems published by Mawenzi House in June 2020. Understan is a CBC Books recommendation. Gavin was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), of Anglo-Indian and Goan East African parentage. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, and an M.A. in English Literature from Bombay University. After leaving Bombay, he lived in Hong Kong for several years before immigrating to Canada. In addition to Understan, Gavin’s poetry has been published in Ranjit Hoskote’s anthology of 14 contemporary Indian poets, Reasons for Belonging (Viking Penguin, India); the journal of Pen India; The Folio; The Independent; The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad; and Poeisis — the journal of the Bombay Poetry Circle — he was a Poetry Circle member from its very first meeting. He is the founder, host and series co-curator of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, a Toronto reading series that focuses on giving BIPOC writers a stage. He is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and sits on its Toronto branch Advisory Board. and is also a member of the League of Canadian Poets, PEN Canada and The Writers’ Union of Canada. Gavin is the co-founder of Barrett and Welsh, a visible-minority-led branding and advertising agency. A certified B Corporation® based in Toronto, the agency specializes in creating inclusion through communications. His commercial writing has been published in 35 countries, helped elect prime ministers, drew the ire of the lawyers for Dolly the cloned sheep, attracted an angry crowd in Lagos, has been studied in business texts in Canada and India and was critiqued by a fictional character in a John Irving novel.
Laurie Anne Fuhr
Laurie Anne Fuhr is a multimodal poet of page, screen, and stage, and a singer-songwriter based in Calgary. Her work merges Modernist-influenced free verse lyric narrative and postmodern experiment; her influences include Stuart Ross, rob mclennan, and Karen Solie. Laurie has lived in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Cold Lake, and Germany as a military brat. In Summer 2021 she co-released Uncommon Grounds: poems by the Espresso Poetry Collective. Her first book, night flying, released in Fall 2018 from Frontenac House (Calgary), is available here: https://www.frontenachouse.com/night-flying/; her EP, love in the digital age, is available at https://birdheat.com/music, and she plays upright bass in a nostalgic duo called Bluebird Telegraph, and electric bass with swamp rockers Shona Rae & the Bona Fides. Laurie's poetry has been published in magazines such as THIS Magazine, Freefall, and Go! (San Francisco); in anthologies like Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man (Foundation for Public Poetry); and her manuscript for night flying was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry in 2016. A member of the League of Canadian Poets, Writers Guild of Alberta, and the Stroll of Poets, she instructs poetry at www.alexandrawriters.org, publishes micropress ephemera as blue moon, and organizes and hosts literary events. Connect with her via @Multimodalpoet on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Steven Ross Smith
Steven Ross Smith was Banff Poet Laureate 2018-21. He is a poet, fiction writer, and arts journalist, currently living in Victoria. His latest poetry books are Emanations: Fluttertongue 6, published by Book*hug in 2015, and the collaborative chapbook "coda: fluttertongue 7" from JackPIne Press in 2021. He was awarded the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award for his poetry book fluttertongue 3: disarray in 2005, and won the bpNichol Chapbook Award for Pliny’s Knickers in 2006. His work appears in journals, recordings, and videos in Canada, USA, and abroad. Smith was Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre (2008–2014) and Director of Sage Hill Writing Experience (1990–2008). His writing is published in Grain and CV2. Smith’s poetic work is known for its innovative challenges to poetic form, notably in the seven-book long poem sequence Fluttertongue, and in his performances of sound poetry. His latest book is "Glummer: Short Fictions" (Radiant Press, 2022). His work can be seen on his website at fluttertongue.ca, and on YouTube and info can be found on Wikipedia.
Lynn Crosbie was born in Montreal and is a cultural critic. A PhD in English literature with a background in visual studies, she teaches at the University of Toronto and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She wrote a novel called Where Did You Sleep Last Night, which was nominated for the Trillium Award and which tells the story of a teenage girl who has a relationship with grunge rocker Kurt Cobain. She is a contributing editor at the Globe and Mail, and a National Magazine Award–winner who has written about sports, style, art, and music.
Conyer Clayton is a queer writer, musician, and freelance editor who was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She now happily calls Ottawa home. She has a BA and an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Louisville. Her most recent collection is But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves (A Feed Dog Book by Anvil Press, 2022), a collection of surrealist prose poetry. Her first book, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions, 2020), won the Ottawa Book Award and was a ReLit finalist. She has many chapbooks, including 3 collaborative ones; most recently holy disorder of being (Gap Riot Press, 2022) by VII, a poetry collective of which she is a member. Conyer is also a competitive gymnastics coach—she has been teaching children how to move, set goals, and handle their emotions for nearly 20 years. Her poetics vary greatly in style (lyric, prose poetry, visual poetry, and hybrid works) but are often around concerns over grief and loss, the body, illness, disability, and addiction. She is also concerned with eco-poetics and the climate crisis. Her work on abortion was read at city council by then-poet-laureate of Fredericton, Jenna Lyn Albert, and garnered national attention to the role of the poet laurete when some council members claimed the poem was "too political." Our identities and experiences are always worthy of being written about and shared, and doing so is a form of activism that can help create meaningful change. Conyer's influences include H.D., Lynn Hejiniian, Mary Ruefle, Italo Calvino, Carmen Maria Machado, Sanna Wani, Kaveh Akbar, and Sarah Venart. But beyond words—lifting weights, bugs, toads, dancing, music, cows, squirrels, garlic, gardening, her family—all these things inspire her.
Saint Andrews, MB
Born in Ontario, Lauren Carter grew up on the North Shore of Lake Huron, a terrain of forest and big water which haunts her work, and now lives outside Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s published four books – two novels and two poetry collections. Her debut, Lichen Bright, was longlisted for the ReLit Award while her first novel, Swarm, was longlisted for Canada Reads. Her second novel, This Has Nothing To Do With You won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and came out the same year as her poetry collection, Following Sea, which recounts family ancestry and infertility, including the journey of her great-great-grandparents from mid-19th-century Niagara to Manitoulin Island. A writer of narrative and sometimes confessional poetry, she’s been influenced by Sylvia Plath, Evelyn Lau, Susan Musgrave, Micheline Maylor, among others. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and regularly teaches online and in-person workshops. Find her at www.laurencarter.ca
Tyler Pennock is an adoptee from a Cree and Métis family around the Slave Lake area of Alberta. They write poetry, theatre, and creative non-fiction, all of which have appeared in collections in Canada, the US and France. Much of their current work looks closely at land, trauma, identity and the nature of memory. Their first book, Bones was released in April 2020, by Brick Books Publishing. Their second book, Blood, will be released in Autumn 2022. Tyler is also an educator, teaching youth, adult learners, college and university students in a variety of topics from sexuality to mathematics. Currently, they are a sessional lecturer at the Centre for Indigenous Studies in the University of Toronto, as well as a Instructor in the Indigenous Studies program at Fleming College. Occasionally, you'll find them teaching poetry for other local schools. They currently live in Toronto. https://www.brickbooks.ca/books/bones/
Kingston , ON
Ashley-Elizabeth Best is a disabled poet and essayist from Kingston, Ontario. Her work can be found in New Welsh Review, CV2, Ambit Magazine, The Literary Review of Canada, and Glasgow Review of Books, among others. In 2015 she was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and her debut collection of poetry, Slow States of Collapse, was published with ECW Press. Best’s chapbook Alignment was published with Rahila’s Ghost Press in spring 2021. A-E is interested in poems about the myriad of friendships and love that sustain us. Poems about medicalized and disabled bodies. Poems that help us to rise and resist what has sought to oppress us. Poems that provide space for the stories of those violently ommitted. Poems that listen. Poems that become instruments of change.
Titilope Sonuga is a Nigerian-Canadian writer, poet, playwright and performer whose work grasps for moments of tenderness and persistent joy at the intersection of blackness and womanhood. She is the author of three award-winning collections of poetry, Down to Earth (2011), Abscess (2014), and This Is How We Disappear (2019) and has composed and released two spoken word albums, Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). Titilope has written three plays, The Six; an intergenerational exploration of womanhood, Naked; a one-woman play and Ada The Country, a musical. She has scripted global advertising campaigns for brands including; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Intel Corporation, Guaranty Trust Bank and The MacArthur Foundation. She was an actor on the hit television series Gidi Up, which aired across Africa. Her writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovak. She is the 9th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton.
Adam Pottle is a Deaf author whose writing seeks to expand the possibilities of disabled storytelling. His books include the poetry collection Beautiful Mutants, the novel Mantis Dreams, the novella The Bus, and the memoir Voice. His plays include Ultrasound and the groundbreaking Deaf musical The Black Drum. His works have won or been nominated for numerous awards, including Saskatchewan Book Awards, the Acorn-Plantos Prize, and the ReLit Award. He lives in Saskatoon, and in Fall 2021 will begin his tenure as Writer in Residence at Sheridan College.
Angelic Goldsky (they/them) is a queer non binary Jewish spoken word poet and community organizer. Angelic creates work around manifesting new cultures of nurturance in regards to gender and consent. In 2020, they released two debut audio spoken word collections dealing with queerness and forgiveness. One of their tracks, "Entropy of Forgiveness" was the winner of the Adobe Project 1324 Inspire Mental Wellness Award. Angelic has shared stages with rabbis and clowns, performing and facilitating workshops across North America. Angelic has developed programs in partnership with The Museum of Anthropology, Cinevolution Media Arts, Jewish Queer Trans Vancouver, and Everybody Is In, working towards community cohesion through uses of art, poetry, language, and media. After being awarded a Creative City Spark grant, they have been mentoring a group of youth, "The Flaming Balloon Collective" to establish a poetry press celebrating healing justice through the expansion of language. Angelic stays faithful to the joy of creating and witnessing poems.
Use our website to engage your students!
Let your students browse the junior anthology for grades 6-8 and the senior anthology for grades 9-12 using Poem Roulette (search by theme, mood, or poet), the Random Poem, or the Poets page. Discover all kinds of content, including Mixtapes - poetic playlists that delve into a specific topic or theme.There’s truly something for everyone: our collection spans centuries and includes important contemporary Canadian voices, including Billy-Ray Belcourt, Emma Healey, and Canisia Lubrin.
Visit the RECITE section of our site to learn about how our Junior and Senior Recitation Competitions work. You’ll find all the tools you need to run a contest at the classroom and school levels. A Team Regional is a great local contest option too — contact us if you’re interested.
Students in grades 7-12 can submit their original poetry (inspired by the work of other poets) to our journal, VOICES/VOIX and to our monthly poetry prompt prize with chances to win prizes and take part in FutureVerse, an all-expenses paid poetry intensive. Get your students writing now with our writing prompts.
Screen a few of our incredible recitation videos, take a quiz (there are no wrong answers!) or listen to an episode of our podcast, which features poets in conversation with the contest finalists who recited their work.
From all of us at Poetry In Voice, thank you for sharing the beauty and power of poetry with your students.