What is Lightbox?

Welcome to Lightbox, a new online educational resource for students and teachers of poetry.

We’re passionate about poetry and excited about the ways it can enhance high school classrooms, colleges and universities, book clubs, community writing workshops, and your own creative pursuits. Reading and writing poetry can be central to exploring human experience, and we hope you’ll find new, interesting, and challenging ways of incorporating poems into your life on this website. For more information, please check out our mission statement here.

Each month, we’ll post a new issue: a feature on two contemporary poets, as well as a full portfolio of classroom materials, assignments, discussion questions, and prompts for new writing. We organize each issue around certain themes and linkages we see between the two poets we interview. In addition to asking questions about specific poems, we also ask writers to speak broadly on themes, such as autobiography and poetry, music, or faith; a genre or form of poetry, such as the elegy or the villanelle; or an issue affecting the world of contemporary poetry, such as online literary magazines, social media, or diversity in MFA programs. Many interviews involve questions related to teaching, to the field of creative writing, and to the education of the writer. In all of our interviews, we consider ways a poet’s work might enhance a classroom lesson.

Each interview will conclude with the standard Lightbox questionnaire. The questions are:

  1. How did you come to poetry?
  2. Can creative writing be taught? How?
  3. What’s your required reading list? What five books should everyone reading and writing poetry today know?
  4. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received or your favorite writing quote? What’s your advice for working young writers?
  5. What are you working on now?
  6. Can you provide us with a poetry prompt for our students?

In the tabs at the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to poems accessible for free online,  a set of discussion questions based on the poems and the interview, materials for in-class writing and thinking, and prompts for new writing. Most exciting, we ask each poet we interview to supply an idea or assignment to spark new creativity.

We want Lightbox to be a meeting place for discussions about teaching writing, poetry, and the growing field of creative writing pedagogy. We welcome your feedback, suggestions, comments, and questions at editors@lightboxpoetry.com.

We’re excited to see how teachers and students–at all levels and in all contexts–use our interviews, materials, activities, and prompts in the classroom and on their own.


The Editors

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