Erinn Batykefer, MLIS

An online professional portfolio

YA Poetry Resources

Click here to visit Erinn's YA Poetry Resources Pinterest board for direct links to all resources

There are questions every librarian dreads at the Help Desk.  They’re different for everyone, but they come from the same place: feeling like you don’t have the know-how or resources to help a patron find what they need.  Poetry is a topic I’ve heard lots of Young Adult librarians worry about, especially when they’re serving teens who are serious about writing and reading it.

In addition to being a librarian, I’m also a poet.  I earned my MFA in writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing Program in 2007, and my first book, Allegheny, Monongahela, was published in 2009.

Because I have both perspectives, I understand why it’s so difficult to collect poetry for libraries, and why many librarians feel at a loss when a patron comes in with a poetry-related question:

  • Poetry is a lonely, insular practice, and the market for collections is tiny (it’s mostly poets buying other poets’ work).  The market for online resources is similarly tiny.
  • Because the market is so small, the big publishers only put out anthologies and collections from really famous poets laureate.
  • Which means that finding reviews for new poetry to add to your library’s collection is incredibly hard.

Online resources are a bit easier to come by (a simple Google search for ‘poetry’ will turn up the Academy of American Poets website, as well as the Poetry Foundation website)  but if you’re not a student of poetry, it can be hard to tell which resources are comprehensive or fit your patrons’ needs.  Resources for young people are subject to all the same difficulties– once poetry graduates from picture books, it’s hard to come by.

My YA Poetry Resources Pinterest board is a growing collection of online resources and examples of YouTube poetry mash-ups and other fun projects that teens have created in response to school assignments and their own interest.  There are some gems in here that make for quick programming and desk reference as well:

  • Free Verse Project Flickr Stream is a wonderful online collection of poetry that participants find and create in their daily lives.  People snap pictures of poems written in sand, on skin, or cleverly staged vignettes and share their pictures online to spark creativity and inspiration.  Get a group of teens together to sift through the library’s poetry collection and choose how they will photograph favorite poems to upload to the Free Verse Flickr account.
  • Shmoop.com poetry guides are a great resource for high school and college students who are analyzing poems for class and need some help with language and meaning.  Check out my full review of Shmoop guides HERE for more info.
  • Poem in your Pocket Day is a fun way to share poetry with teens.  There are free pocket-shaped online templates where you can print out or write your favorite poem to share.
  • Poetry Apps for your Mobile Phone can help you get familiar with poetry quickly, and teens into poetry will enjoy finding new work and creating poetry of their own.
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This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by in Books & Resources and tagged , , , , , , .
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