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Poetry Central

Welcome to Poetry Central! Created by Lance Larsen, PhD, Utah Poet Laureate 2012-2017, Poetry Central is a clearinghouse of information for teachers, students, and anyone else interested in reading and writing poetry.

Reading Poetry

A great way to interact with poetry is by hearing poets read their own work. Visit our Bite-Size Poetry page to watch videos of notable Utah poets reading short poems. If you want to see a list of the videos in each YouTube playlist, click here: 2015 Bite-Size Poetry or here: 2009-2011 Bite-Size Poetry

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Here are great websites for reading both classic and contemporary poetry:

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Writing Poetry

We’ve gathered poetry prompts from many of the Bite-Size Poetry poets. Those noted with an asterisk (*) are exercises especially well-suited for K-12 classrooms.

*Shanan Ballam, “Mapping the Neighborhood”

Lisa Bickmore, “Invention and Discovery”

*Marilyn Bushman-Carlton, “Generating Poems from Epigraphs”

Rob Carney, “12 Tasks”

*Elaine Christensen, “A Suitcase Packed with Everyday Things”

*Chris Cokinos, “A Surrealist Game for Two”

Katharine Coles, “Centos, Pantoums, Erasure Poems”

Star Coulbrooke, “Writing Your Childhood”

*Brock Dethier, “A Thank-you Poem”

Craig Dworkin, “Found Poetry and Experimentation”

Siân Griffiths, “The Cinematic Eye: Writing Image-Driven Poems”

Ben Gunsberg, “Write a Rhapsody”

Jean Howard, “Writing Extreme Performance Poems”

*Kimberly Johnson, “Fifty Sentences”

Janine Joseph, “World into Word”

*Lance Larsen, “Pieces of Eight: Pocket Poetry Exercises”

Jason Olsen, “The Group Title Prompt”

Jacqueline Osherow, “Go to the Zoo”

Paisley Rekdal, “The Next Thing Always Belongs”

*Susan Roche, “Doo-Dads”

Natasha Sajé, “Poems Aware of History”

Susan Sample, “Best Words in the Best Order”

*Gail Schimmelpfennig, “Gifts to the Imagination”

Jon Sebba, “Twenty Little Poetry Projects”

Ned Snell, “Getting Started”

*Laura Stott, “The Train Station Poem”

Nancy Takacs, “Writing a Poem on a Road”

 

Visit the Poets & Writers page for some good poetry prompts online:

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Visit the Academy of American Poets page for information about various poetry forms:

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Dr. Larsen recommends these books with poetry exercises and prompts:

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The Utah State Poetry Society’s mission is “nurturing those with a desire to write poetry”:

 

Bite-Size Poetry

Bite-Size Poetry started in 2009 as the brainchild of Utah Poet Laureate 2006-2012, Katharine Coles. Katharine’s idea was to infuse a bit of poetry into the everyday lives of Utahns in a manageable, “bite-size” format. She has said of the project: “Lots of people think they don’t have time for poetry, but in truth, most poems are short, and everyone has time for a one-minute poetic encounter.”

She invited notable Utah poets to write a poem they could read aloud in one or two minutes, and the poets were videotaped reading their poetry. The program so far has run from 2009-2011 and in 2015, with production provided by KUED-TV in the early years and by TWIG Media Lab in 2015.

If you want to see a list of the videos in each YouTube playlist, click here: 2015 Bite-Size Poetry or here: 2009-2011 Bite-Size Poetry.

Watch all the 2015 Bite-Size Poetry videos here:

And watch all the 2009-2011 Bite-Size Poetry videos here:

 

Poet Laureate

The Utah Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state who presents in communities, schools, libraries, and public events. The position was established in 1997.

Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee,  a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir entitled Intimate, and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her newest book of poems is Imaginary Vessels, and a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam is forthcoming in 2017. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series, and on National Public Radio, among others. She teaches at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of the community web project Mapping Salt Lake City.

Book the Poet Laureate

To request a reading or workshop by the Poet Laureate, please fill out the Poet Laureate appearance request form. Requests are honored based on the nature of the request and the availability of the Poet Laureate.

Paisley Rekdal’s Bite-Size Poem

Past Utah Poets Laureate

David Lee, St. George
Appointed by Gov. Michael Leavitt
January 1997 to January 2003

Kenneth W. Brewer, Logan
Appointed by Gov. Michael Leavitt
January 2003 to March 2006

Katharine Coles, Salt Lake City
Appointed by Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.
March 2006 to April 2012

Lance Larsen, Springville
Appointed by Gov. Gary R. Herbert
April 2012 to April 2017

Literary Arts

The Utah Division of Arts & Museums has been supporting Utah’s literary community for more than 50 years. The Utah Original Writing Competition began in 1958 and has since expanded to other offerings.

Sign up for our monthly LitOps e-newsletter by contacting Alyssa Hickman Grove at agrove@utah.gov .

Poetry Central

Created by Lance Larsen, PhD, Utah Poet Laureate 2012-2017, our Poetry Central page is a clearinghouse of information for teachers, students, and anyone else interested in reading and writing poetry.

Bite-Size Poetry

For our Bite-Size Poetry project, we invited notable Utah poets to recite short poems they’ve written. Our friends at TWIG Media Lab created videos of the readings. Enjoy!

Poet Laureate

Utah initiated its Poet Laureate program in 1997. The Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state. The Poet Laureate is available for readings at public events and in venues including libraries, universities and schools. To have the Poet Laureate visit your organization, please fill out the Poet Laureate appearance request form.

Competitions

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Poetry Out Loud
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with Utah Arts & Museums’ Literature Program to support Poetry Out Loud, which encourages Utah’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. State arts agencies receiving arts education funding from NEA are required to participate.

Original Writing Competition
The annual Original Writing Competition has won national respect because of the reputation of its judges and the honors received by its winners. For more than 50 years, this competition has honored some of Utah’s finest writers with public recognition, career assistance and cash prizes.

Literary Resources

Utah is home to a rich and diverse writing community. Throughout the state, there are several literary journals and magazines (both print and electronic), conferences, competitions, awards, festivals and presses. These range from independent to university- and college-sponsored periodicals, events and workshops, and include content in all literary genres, often paired with visual arts. Additionally, audiences for each range from local to national and from secular to religious, and are inclusive of experienced and emerging writers alike. For a list of resources, click HERE.

Download an information sheet on the Literary Arts program.

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