On Year 4: May’s Poems

spring flowers

The homestretch, the final month of the school year.  It’s been wet and squelchy, unsettled, cold.  The kids have been antsy and bad-tempered.  I’ve tried to give them poems that provided something warm and uplifting.  I’m not sure I was always successful–and quite frankly, this has been a year where the students have been really hard to reach.  But still:  we try.  And try some more.


May 1st, Thursday: “Afterwards” by Thomas Hardy (because the poet Jenny Doughty suggested it)

May 2nd, Friday: “May” by Jonathan Galassi

May 5th, Monday: “Spell” by May Lewis

May 6th, Tuesday: “The Snake” by William Matthews

May 7th, Wednesday: “To Daffodils” by Robert Herrick

linda pastan

Linda Pastan

May 8th, Thursday: “Song in a Minor Key” by Dorothy Parker

May 9th, Friday: “The Figure on the Hill” by Jeffrey Harrison

May 12th, Monday: “My Dog Practices Geometry” by Cathryn Essinger

May 13th, Tuesday: “The Pasture” by Robert Frost

May 14th, Wednesday: “Spring” by Linda Pastan

May 15th, Thursday: “By the Front Door” by W. S. Merwin

May 16th, Friday: “I Dwell in Possibility–” (#466) by Emily Dickinson

May 19th, Monday: “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman

Donald Hall & Jane Kenyon

Donald Hall & Jane Kenyon

May 20th, Tuesday: “Heavy Summer Rain” by Jane Kenyon

May 21st, Wednesday: “Vita Nova” by Louise Glück

May 22nd, Thursday: “The Long Voyage” by Malcolm Cowley

May 23rd, Friday: “The Morning Porches” by Donald Hall

May 26th, Monday:  Memorial Day–no school

May 27th, Tuesday: “How to Regain Your Soul” by William Stafford


Maya Angelou

May 28th, Wednesday: “Limen” by Natasha Trethewey

May 29th, Thursday: “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou (because of her greatness:  that is all I can say)

May 30th, Friday: “Silver-Lined Heart” by Taylor Mali (because this is the poem is the one I always read on the final senior day)

And so ends the school year, and the fourth year of this poem-reading adventure.  The most pleasurable part of this four years is that the poem-a-day has become, truly, part of our classroom culture.  All because of a stray remark someone made at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching all those years ago.  Thanks to whoever made that remark.



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