At the start of this school year, I blogged about casually sharing poetry with students to inspire appreciation and to reduce anxiety. I hope that you’ve found the practice to be as fulfilling as I do. If you haven’t started yet, the new semester offers a great opportunity to introduce this routine—and not a minute too soon, with testing season just around the corner!
Here’s a list of poems you may want to use to kick off the New Year. Remember, the main purpose is just the sharing, but if you’re like me and can’t stand to waste the opportunity to talk a little bit about text, my free list of questions may help guide your discussion.
This Year Is Yours by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. A charge for personal responsibility and accomplishment in the coming year; it may pair well with an article on New Year’s resolutions.
Resolve by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Another list of resolutions that might inspire student-created lists or discussion about carrying on when we get a little off track with our resolutions.
New Year’s Day by Kobayashi Issa. This haiku offers, perhaps, a more realistic look at what New Year’s Day really means.
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson. I shared this one in August as a kick off to the school year, but it’s just as relevant at New Year’s.
The Journey by Mary Oliver. An old favorite of mine; the New Year provides a chance to take responsibility for ourselves, leave the bad habits behind, and set out on our own journey.
Today by Jean Little. This is one of my favorite Quickwrite prompt (Today I…) poems. I included it in this collection because it offers a nice contrast to all the positivity and might appeal to some students who are fed up with all the “turn over a new leaf” talk.
To the Garbage Collectors in Bloomington, Indiana, the First Pickup of the New Year by Phillip Appleman. Even when poetry is about something as mundane as garbage, it can still be thought-provoking.
Do you have any favorite New Year’s poems? Please share them in the comments!