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A Celebration of Poetry with Padma Venkatraman and Margarita Engle

Our #HFGather celebration of poetry was a wonderful way to celebrate National Poetry Month! Padma and Margarita shared poems and conversation about:

  • From Margarita: “Poetry is a refuge for your emotions.”
  • The musicality of poetry: “There is a hope and joy and beauty of musical language.”
  • Writing rhyming poems vs. free verse
  • Growing up when there were no diverse books for children
  • The founding and community of Diverse Verse
  • Teaching poetry in the classroom; overcoming the fear of poetry
  • Using poetry as a bridge between cultures
  • Enjoying writing poetry without worrying about being published
  • And more!

If you missed the live session, you can watch it here.
Please note: closed captions are being added to the video below. When they are finished, you can see them by hovering over the bottom of the video and choosing the “CC” icon.


Poets, books and websites mentioned in the webinar:

  • Padma Venkatraman’s website
  • Margarita Engle’s website
  • Diverse Verse website
  • Margarita Engle: Padma read a beautiful poem from Margarita’s book Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir.
  • Jacqueline Woodson: Padma says “anything and everything by Jackie.”
  • Naomi Shihab Nye: the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate.
  • Nikki Grimes: One Last Word and Bronx Masquerade
  • Aida Salazar: Land of the Cranes, The Moon Within, and the forthcoming Calling the Moon (edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez.)
  • Jason Reynolds: Long Way Down
  • Thanhhà Lai: Inside Out and Back Again
  • René Saldaña, Jr. (editor): I SING: THE BODY Poems about Body Image
  • Sarah J. Donovan (editor): Rhyme and Rhythm: Poems for Student Athletes
  • Alison Green Myers: A Bird Will Soar – Padma says “prose chapters that open with a wonderful poem.”
  • Janet Wong: Good Luck Gold & More
  • Jorge Argueta and Ari Tison: Margarita says “they represent Latinx indigenous groups…that’s something that hasn’t been available before.”
  • Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong: founders of Pomelo Books, Providing pre-K-grade 12 teachers with poetry across the curriculum
  • Kwame Alexander and Charles Waters: both do interactive classroom poetry
  • Poetry Magazine’s first Young Reader’s issue, March 2021. Find out more here. The issue was edited by the three Young People’s Poet Laureates: Jackie Woodson, Naomi Shihab Nye and Margarita Engle.

You can also listen to the session on our podcast here.

Posted on: April 27, 2022

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