World Poetry Day, celebrated on 21 March every year, recognises the unique ability of poetry to capture what it means to be human. In every culture there are poets who feed the soul of their nation and advocate for the arts; today we are featuring the diversity and brilliance of our Australian poets, contemporary and classic.

For those who aren’t yet comfortable teaching poetry or for those looking to freshen up their poetry resources, we’ve got freely available units of work and suggested texts for you to explore. Below you’ll find five resources for primary and five for secondary, as well as some of our favourite poetry books for extra reading. To get to the resource, just click on the book cover!

Primary resources

One of our most recent additions to Reading Australia is Pearl Verses the World, a children’s verse novel by Sally Murphy with illustrations by Heather Potter; verse novels are a fantastic introduction to poetry for children who are unfamiliar with the form. Another of our brand new resources is Our Village in the Sky by Janeen Brian; the unit of work will guide students in identifying poetic techniques used in the text and in creating their own poems. Another favourite is The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base, a visual feast with a clever mystery in poetic form. The rhyming and alliteration of the poem matches the complexity of the illustrations and can be used for any primary year level. Also on this list is: Free Diving by Jane Godwin and the classic Crocodile Beat by Gail Jorgensen.

Secondary resources

One of our newest resources, aimed at lower secondary, is for The ABC Book of Australian Poetry, a collection of vibrant classic and contemporary poetry compiled by Libby Hathorn. Verse novels are an easy way to teach reluctant readers to appreciate poetry, and we’ve got two to feature in this list: Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann, a staggering story of colonialism, grief, love and desire, as well as Steven Herrick‘s simple yet poignant YA verse novel By the River. Finally, every classroom should include Collected Poems by Judith Wright and the poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker).

Extra Reading List

Need related texts to recommend to students, or just looking for your next favourite book? Go ahead and sample a couple of these popular reads! Primary teachers, a wonderful verse novel for students experiencing bullying is Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel. For the adults, Dorothy Porter’s The Monkey’s Mask is a crime thriller verse novel where poetry blends with profanity to create brilliance. Another stand out is Mother I’m Rooted, a groundbreaking feminist anthology published in 1975 that captures the full and diverse spectrum of being a woman. Ali Cobby Eckermann has already featured on this list, but she deserves a second mention for her award-winning collection Inside My MotherLooking for audio visual resources? Check out our video created in partnership with ABC Education on The Golden Bird: students watch the mesmerising Robert Adamson discuss his life, his work and love for the Hawkesbury River.