Poet Laureate Launches Project to Encourage Poetry in High Schools
Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, has launched Poetry 180,
a new website designed to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment
of poetry in high schools around the country. The site, www.loc.gov/poetry/180,
is featured on the Library of Congress’s home page. The Poet Laureateship
is an appointed office within the Library of Congress’s Scholarly
The site contains the text of 180 poems, one for each day of the
school year, that Collins selected. In addition, the site offers
suggestions for different ways to present a poem in a school setting,
as well as guidance on how to read a poem aloud. Most of the poems
presented on the site were written by contemporary American authors
and were selected with a high school audience in mind. The poems
were chosen to be accessible upon first hearing, although students
may wish to download them from the web site for later reading.
idea behind Poetry 180 is simple—to have a poem read each day
to the student bodies of American high schools across the country,”
said Collins. “Hearing a poem every day, especially well-written,
contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might
convince students that poetry can be understandable, painless
and even an eye-opening part of their everyday experience.”
Collins was named Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library
of Congress in May 2001 by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
The position has existed since 1936, when the late Archer M. Huntington
endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. Since then, many of
the nation’s most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry
to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law
99-194 (December 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.#
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