Poems of American Experience  

Poetry & Power: Robert Frost's Inaugural Reading

Video: Edward Hirsch & Rita Dove on Political Poetry 

New Lesson Plan: We Sing America
ponsot Lyn Hejinian
poems Poems of American Experience
Painting by Frederick Childe Hassam, 1917
by Walt Whitman
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes
Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander
America by Robert Creeley
America by Claude McKay
On Being Brought from Africa to America by Phillis Wheatley
A Nation's Strength 
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Election Year by Donald Revell
In a Country by Larry Levis
A Supermarket in California
by Allen Ginsberg
Poet Robert Frost with President John F Kennedy essayPoetry & Power: Robert Frost's Inaugural Reading 

On Robert Frost's 85th birthday in 1959, he publicly predicted that John F. Kennedy would become the next President of the United States--before Kennedy had officially put himself on the ticket. It was only fitting, then, that Kennedy asked Frost to read a poem at his inauguration in 1961, making Frost the first poet to hold such an honor. Read more about Frost's inauguration poem and this momentous event in American history.
Rita Dove audioVideo Exclusive: Edward Hirsch & Rita Dove on Political Poetry

"I think in America, we're really terrified of the term 'political poetry'," says Rita Dove in this discussion with Ed Hirsch on the aesthetics and usefulness of the "political poem." In this video clip, filmed during the 2009 Poets Forum, watch as the two Academy Chancellors consider form, intent, and ideas of "art and justice."
Painting by Edward Moran, 1886
Lesson Plan: We Sing America
In this new lesson plan, students focus on poems that serve as "songs" about the American experience at different points in history, including work by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Alexander.
This lesson plan is aligned with Common Core standards and has been prepared by a curriculum specialist.
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Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem In Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit Poets.org. Lyn Hejinian & Rita Dove photographs by Brian Palmer.