When was the last time you saw a list for The Top 10 Poems I Meant to Read and Never Did, The Year’s Worst Poetry Readings, or Five Poems I Wish I’d Written for My Kids? Even when listmania strikes at the end of the year, the odds are enormous that “Best of…” and “Worst of…” won’t feature poetry. It’s time for our own Unofficially Official List of Top Poetry Sites.
This is a must-stop online, with its A-to-Z list of poets, thousands of poems, a huge audio archive, essays and interviews, and constantly expanding e-poetry resources.
An initiative of U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, ALPoetry offers weekly a free, downloadable poem with commentary. It also boasts an archive of hundreds of poems that are frequently humorous, sometimes deeply moving, and always speak to place and what is uniquely American in spirit.
Emphasizing poetry as oral tradition, this site showcases poets with fewer than two published collections. What matters are not the names on the poems but the poems themselves, presented in their creators’ voices. With more than 500 audio files, the site offers users insights into how emerging poets think about and practice their craft.
The serious student or teacher of poetry cannot go wrong with MAPS, which comprises more than 30,000 pages of online biographies, critical essays, syllabi, and images for more than 160 modern poets. For some poets, it’s the only source for scholarly commentary. Detailed analyses of poems and poetry-related ephemera are noteworthy.
Not everyone can “get” a poem by reading it. MotionPoems animates words in ways that uncover meaning through wonderfully creative use of music and graphics.
No site does a better job than PennSound of documenting, preserving, and making easily accessible historic and contemporary sound recordings you’ll find nowhere else.
I like how poets are singled out among the larger group of writers here. The trove of resources includes unparalleled databases of literary magazines, presses, agents, contests, writers’ tools, and readings and workshops. The “My P&W” community is active and supportive.
Cheeky Harriet, the foundation’s blog, makes clear that poetry doesn’t equate to the stiff and stuffy. Notable site features include a Learning Lab, children’s poetry, podcasts, video, and selections from the estimable Poetry magazine. Poems are searchable by school/period, regions, and century and can be accessed using the latest technology.
Start in Afghanistan and end in Zimbabwe, but let PIW take you on your global poetry tour. You won’t need a passport to cross borders and listen to the many voices you’ll hear only in this international community. In addition to informative articles, audio/video recordings, and interviews, PIW offers thousands of poems in their original language and English translations.
New-Kid-on-the-Block TSP, while last on the list alphabetically, more than holds its own against the longer-established sites, offering an engaging blog with poetry reviews and essays on craft, accompanied by beautiful photography; an e-daily with unique monthly themes and art, Every Day Poems, that celebrates words’ power to move us, surprise us, or make us laugh; the award-winning T. S. Poetry Press; a newly launched store; and a supportive community that was among the first to use Twitter to write collaborative poetry.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In February we’re exploring the theme Red.