The purpose of this project is to allow students to use their (developing) skills of poetic explication and close reading, combined with research and analysis, to discover and establish a solid case for a poet they will nominate as the next American Poet Laureate. Working in groups of 3-4, students will identify a published, living American poet who has not yet been designated a laureate. The project demands a wide array of skills as the students research bibliographic information on the poet: read and analyze the poet’s body of work and select one central poem to represent that poet; amass their materials into a cogent group presentation and, if desired, individually or collectively write an essay in which they present their analysis and justifications. The English Team at IMSA presents this at the end of the sophomore year American Literature sequence, but it could be given where most appropriate for a specific class.
Kind, Leah; Gleason, Dan; Micklo, Erin; and Cain, Margaret T., "America in Verse: The Laureate Project" (2012). Understanding Poetry. 11.