Inspired Ideas
Published in

Inspired Ideas

Cultivating Moments of Stillness

Using Poetry Podcasts Within the English Classroom

As I began to plan our upcoming unit, I knew that I needed to provide space for reflection and connectivity — a place for students to rest amidst the chaos of life.

For me, this is what poetry has always provided. A moment of stillness and beauty regardless of circumstance.

Poetry and Podcasts: Promoting Conversation and Connection

Last year, as I was reading an NPR article called “Podcasts Are Providing A New Way Into Poetry,” I saw an opportunity for my students. One filled with autonomy and purpose. In the article, Saeed Jones, an award-winning poet, explains that “with podcasts, we’re looking for air pockets to catch our breath.” Podcasts are about conversation and connection. Poetry is much the same. Jones goes on to state that for many people poetry is “a brief momentary space that contains breath, and the world outside the poem gets a little quiet just for a moment.”

Finding Meaning

We must heed the warning of poet Billy Collins as he reminds us in his poem “Introduction to Poetry,” not to “begin beating [the poem] with a hose / to find out what it really means.” I’ve found that discussing how a given poem makes a student feel is the first step in analysis. Yes, we want to understand the writer’s craft, but we don’t want to lose the heart and soul of poetic verse as a byproduct.

We must first begin with connection, with breath, with reflection.

Ideally, the podcast episode would serve as a vessel, a capsule of sorts, for their thoughts in this moment of time. I wanted my students to explore the world of poetry and discuss a poem of their choice, so I provided links to the Teach Living Poets Virtual Library and Poetry 180 in order to help them get started in their research. I encouraged them to take their time when choosing which poet and poem to use for the project — my hope was that they would find a piece of poetry (maybe for the first time) that speaks to them.

Developing a Deep Appreciation for Poetry

Most students chose to use Anchor when recording their podcast episode, and, as I listened, I was impressed with the depth of thought and quality of their finished product. I had the pleasure of listening to my students explore the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Maggie Smith, Terrance Hayes, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver and so many more.

Follow the conversation #WhyITeach

Stay Connected and Inspired

Sign up to receive information on emerging trends and topics that are shaping the landscape of PreK-12 education today and hear from educators across the country as they discuss their strategies and experiences in shaping students’ lives.



Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators. We focus on educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
McGraw Hill

Helping educators and students find their path to what’s possible. No matter where the starting point may be.