Here are five sites for giving students access to and understanding about great works of poetry. Poems on these sites can be downloaded to computers and/or printed in hard copy. In some cases, multimedia capabilities include readings of the poems.
1. NightClouds (http://www.crosswinds.net/~weedy/ithink.htm). This site refers to itself as a resource for “discerning readers,” and it has taken that mission to an extreme. Only 18 poets are anthologized, including W. H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth, Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, and D. H. Lawrence. The site includes select poems from each artist and has a search capability. It links to two other sites, Bartleby Library and the Academy of American Poets (see below).
2. Academy of American Poets (http://www.poets.org/index.cfm). Online editions of nearly 600 poems from more than 200 poets (biographies of each poet are included). The site also contains critical essays, current news, and other information to provide context. Search capabilities are included. Some poems can be heard online. This site is most appropriate for serious students of poetry who may want to participate in online chats with others, as well as learn on their own.
3. Bartleby Library: Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900 (http://www.bartleby.com/101). The home site of Bartleby’s numerous literary collections, this site offers a searchable selection of verse. Selections include several complete works and anthologies, such as Arthur Quiller-Couch’s popular poetry collection, which has influenced educators’ choices of poetry since it was published in 1919. The Quiller-Couch collection is ideal for students, as it features, among others, John Milton, William Yeats, Emily Bronte, and William Shakespeare. The Bartleby site offers numerous other literary (and not-so literary) gems, such as full text of all 54 presidential inaugural addresses.
4. Pete’sBest-Loved Poems (http://www.zoomnet.net/~petecol/main.html). Another influential anthology, this one is based on “The Best-Loved Poems of the American People,” compiled by Hazel Felleman for Doubleday in 1936. The site includes poems by William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, John Keats, Rudyard Kipling, and Edward Lear. Search capabilities are limited to author and title. Links to about 10 other poetry sites of varying literary high-mindedness also are included.
5. Nursery Rhymes Collected by Daughter Goose (http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/3942). Contains Mother Goose poems, including Georgie Porgie, Hickory Dickory Doc, Hey Diddle Diddle, Old Mother Hubbard, and Jack and Jill. Each is accompanied by a small graphic. A GeoCities site, so it uploads slowly.