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Meet 5 Local Poets Who Capture Moments in Words

How poetry can help kids connect with others and express themselves

April 7, 2021

By Katie Carpenter

April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and creativity of poets who artfully illustrate and capture moments in time through words.

In reading poetry, we can walk in someone else’s shoes, and connect their experiences to our own. Writing poetry is a powerful means of self expression, opening up channels of creativity and emotion through which we can show our truest selves to the world.

Poetry can be a wonderful tool for building children’s social and emotional skills, empowering them to think in new ways. It is also a great way to build reading, listening, writing and speaking skills.

Whether you are a teacher, caregiver or parent, we encourage you to explore the resources below and explore the world of language through poetry with your children and students!

po·et·ry /ˈpōətrē/
literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.

Explore the poetry of 5 local poets who capture the moments of today in their own words.

Originally published in Pollen Midwest, Sun Yung Shin recites her poem, “In the Cut: Being Asian American During This Pandemic, A Word Find Puzzle.” (Part of Hippocrates Cafe: Reflections on a Pandemic)


ShaVunda Brown performed her call-and-response poem “Black Girls Don’t Dream of Blue Eyes Anymore” to a multi-racial audience at Twin Cities PBS during her Art Is… performance for the event “Black Light!”


Donte Collins is a Black, queer American poet. Named the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Saint Paul, they are the recipient of the 2018 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Spoken Word and winner of the 2016 Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. They are the author of the poetry collection Autopsy (Button Poetry, 2017) a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.


Ifrah Mansour read her poem “I am a Refugee” at Twin Cities Refugee Day, where these portraits were taken.

Kevin Yang is a Hmong-American multidisciplinary artist from the Twin Cities. Kevin creates primarily in the mediums of spoken word, filmmaking and theater. He finds most of his inspiration in unraveling his experience as a Hmong soul born in the United States.


MN Original celebrates Minnesota’s creative community, across all disciplines and cultures. This award-winning weekly series from TPT captures authentic expressions of the creative process, to promote a deeper understanding of, and cultivate new audiences for, the arts.
To discover poetry and activities, click on Educators and filter by artistic practices

Art Is…
Minnesota is a haven for artists – some of them well-known, others we still need to meet. That’s why TPT launched ART IS…, a multi-media and events series aimed at bringing visibility to emerging and established artists.

Somalia: A Nation of Poets
More than any other country, Somalia is a nation of poets. Their culture revolves around poetry, an art form that remains significant as Somali refugees relocate throughout the world. Poets in Minneapolis and Columbus express the best of this tradition.

30 Poets
Narrative poetry. Spoken word. Lyric poetry accompanied by music. Poetry that rhymes and poetry that slants, bends and winds. During National Poetry Month, TPT presents a poem from the archives every day: 30 Poets, 30 Days. Some of the featured poets are Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners. Most call Minnesota home. Every one of them represents a journey in language and culture.

Minnesota Remembers Vietnam Poetry Collection
The Minnesota Remembers Vietnam community is rich with poets of all backgrounds, from veterans to refugees to middle school children. This is a collection of our favorite poetry submissions.

Maya Angelou- American Masters
In this interactive lesson, discover how literary techniques like figurative language, imagery, and symbolism contribute to the overall meaning of a poem. Explore how a poet establishes and builds on a theme. Learn how to tell the difference between tone and mood. Through a close reading of Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Caged Bird” (1983), practice unpacking the language of poetry while learning about some of the various tools a writer can utilize when writing a poem.

Poetry Foundation | Resources for educators

Mindful Poetry Moments
Mindful Music Moments Collaborates with The On Being Project for second annual National Poetry Month Offering

PBS Learning Media poetry | Collection of videos, media and activities focused on poetry.

Poetry in America
Poetry in America has developed new curriculum to help teachers bring poet Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” into the classroom.  Four lessons help students place the poem in historical context and invite students to write a poem of their own.

Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb curriculum from Poetry in America

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