On Year 3: September’s Poems

Not to mention two in August!

Back to school, and back to a poem a day to my classes.  How many times does one have to do something before it becomes a habit?  This will be the third year for me–the third year since I took this one simple idea away from the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching.  I am fortunate this year in that my new schedule provides for a first period class of AP juniors, people who are supposed to spend the year focussing on language and how it’s used as a tool for so many purposes.  At the same time, I have a group of seniors in third period who begin class by asking what’s the poem for today?–in the period just before they take off for the vocational school.  I’m developing a culture.  I like it.

By the way:  Dawn Potter’s poem “Boy Land,” which I saved for the last class day in September, has become a perennial favorite.  They loved it this year, too.

August 30, Thursday:  “Years from Now When You Are Weary” by Julia Kasdorf

August 31, Friday: “Ode to Barbecue” by Barbara Hamby (I so look forward to reading this every year)

September 4, Tuesday:  “The Beautiful Changes” by Richard Wilbur

September 5, Wednesday:  “Horses and Men in Rain” by Carl Sandburg (because there are the remains of Hurricane Isaac out there!)

September 6, Thursday:  “Hope is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson

September 7, Friday:  “The School Bus” by Christian Barter

September 10, Monday:  “New Religion” by Bill Holm

September 11, Tuesday: “For the Night” by Jane Kenyon

September 12, Wednesday:  “English Flavors” by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

September 13, Thursday: “Beginning” by James Wright

September 14, Friday:  “Autumn” by T. E. Hulme

September 17, Monday:  “Porch Swing in September” by Ted Kooser

September 18, Tuesday: “Autumn Song” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

September 19, Wednesday: “Passing Through a Small Town” by David Shumate

September 20, Thursday: “The Things” by Donald Hall (because it’s his birthday!)

September 21, Friday: “These are the days when the birds come back” by Emily Dickinson

September 24, Monday:  “A Walk” by Rainer Maria Rilke (for my friends at the Kington Walking Festival this past weekend)

September 25, Tuesday:  “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold

September 26, Wednesday: “In Trackless Woods” by Richard Wilbur

September 27, Thursday:  “Boy Land” by Dawn Potter

September 28, Friday:  Homecoming–no class!

And there we are:  another round of a habit.  Any suggestions for next month?  Always looking!


  1. Jenny Doughty

    How about Patrick Kavanagh’s “October” (on http://www.u2literary.com/LitLyricBoy.htm) and Ted Hughes’ “October Dawn” (on http://potatopeelpie.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/october-dawn-ted-hughes/)? And how could you miss Keats “Ode to Autumn”? Glad to see you did “Dover Beach”, one of my all-time favourites.


  2. I loved that Julia Kasdorf poem–I heard it on Writer’s Almanac and teared up, and thought about how I would like to teach it, it I could. I’m glad you did 🙂


  3. By the way–Have I told you how I love your monthly poems, and your sharing them here?


    • Blame Baron Wormser and Dawn Potter. They gave me the idea when I attended the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. And quite frankly, the search for poems has enriched my life beyond measure.


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