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Approaching Valentine's Day

posted: 2.8.10 by archived

What to do with poetry around Valentine’s Day? Assign students doggerel? Analyze Robert Burns? Recite Shakespeare?

Poets around the country have dealt with sentimentality in a few inventive ways.

In 2008, when Ted Kooser’s book Valentines had just been published, NPR’s All Things Considered recounted how the former poet laureate had been sending an original Valentine’s Day poem to women all over the country for the past 20 years.

In 1986, when the project began, his list contained a mere 50 women. In 2007, the number had grown to 2,700. According to the story, he spent almost $1,000 in postage that year.  Read the full piece and listen to Kooser’s valentines here.

But back to this year. Anticipating a sticky day of chocolates and roses, writer-provocateur Jonathan Ames, with poets Mark Halliday, Bob Hicok, Donna Masini, and “break-up expert” Jerry Williams, will host an anti-Valentine’s Day party in Brooklyn, NY (February 11). The poets are launching the compilation, It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Poetry of Breakup (powerHouse books) and celebrating, as the listing says, “the darker side of love.”

If you’re looking for well-loved poems as models for writing or for teaching, or even as gifts for friends, the videos on Favorite Poem Project’s Web site are quick and inspiring.

Finally, the Poetry Foundation has a fabulous resource page, organized by themes such as “funny love,” “classic love,” “teen love,” and “break up.” The page includes audio resources and feature essays such as “Love Lessons from High School Students,” by Brian Staveley, that should prove helpful for lesson planning, teaching, and getting through the day itself.

However you teach, ignore, deny, or celebrate Valentine’s Day in the classroom, drop us a line and let us know how you did it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Categories: Creative Writing, Joelle Hann (moderator), Literature, Teaching Advice
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2 Responses to “Approaching Valentine's Day”

  1. Laura, Text Flows Says:

    Hi Joelle,

    What a great resource. Since your post is so timely, I wanted to let you know about our poetry contest that launched today! Anyone who sends a customizable poem flow from our site: has a chance to win a dozen roses for his/her sweetheart.

    I’d also like a chance to talk to you about how to use Poem Flow to directly reach your students. With a partnership with the Academy of American Poets, TextTelevision has developed Poem Flow, an iPhone/Touch application that modifies the reading and writing experience.

    TextTelevision presents a new way to read and write using animation. Their TextFlows software makes reading like watching a movie. Poem Flow features a new way to experience poetry on a handheld screen. Poem Flow introduces readers to poems they haven’t read, and lets them see (and share) old poems again. We think that this application will allow us to deliver poetry to a new generation of readers. As readers approach texts increasingly through the screen (and not the printed page), TextFlows are a tool that will engage and focus their attention while improving their comprehension and enjoyment.

    I’d like to invite you to get a sneak peak of the Poem Flow application here on the web and TextTelevision is interested in hearing your thoughts on the PoemFlow app, or even the TextFlows reading experience all together. We’d love to hear your thoughts about it and what you think it might do for poetry


    Laura Often (for Text Flows)

  2. gaurav Says: