Neighborhood Poetry

Through Neighborhood Poetry, students explore how buildings, gardens and streets in their neighborhood can serve as inspiration for creating poems. In the first session, students explore poems about architecture and their accompanying illustrations and practice visualization. In the second session, students head outside to make observations about an actual space (e.g. building, garden, street), sketching and writing brief phrases about what they see. In preparation for the final session, the observations are typed up and cut into strips.  Working in small groups students then arrange the observations into poems inspired by the space they observed.


  • Students will look UP to notice architecture that they had not seen before.
  • Students will see buildings in a new way: Not only as places to live, learn, eat, etc. but as works of art themselves and inspiring of other forms of art.
  • Students will work together to create poems made up of their classmates’ on-site observations.
Session 1: Urban Poetry & Visualization

Today we explore how poets write about buildings and neighborhoods in much the same way as an artist may draw or paint a scene on a city street. Using poems and illustrations by Lillian Moore we discuss poetic language devices (rhyme, personification, repetition etc) and think about how to create an image through language. As a group we firstly use illustrations to look for clues as to what a poem may be about, before taking on the individual task of drawing what you visualize when you hear the poem read aloud only.

Session 2: Outdoor Observation

Using their experience with poetic language from the first session, we venture outside to explore what sensory observations we can make in our school neighborhood. Once at a pre-planned location, students will write concise, expressive observations about the location which will late be compiled into a class poem. Their sketches will serve to illustrate the poem.

Session 3: Class Poetry

For our final session the class works in small groups in order to create an arranged poem. The components of the poem are students’ observations from the previous session. We have an opportunity at the end of this session for each group to present their poetry to the class. This project can also make a great classroom display, a published poetry book for the class, or serve as a ‘publishing party’ for families to also attend.

More Workshops

To inquire about having your school partner with Keeping the Past for the Future, please contact

Shannon Hill
45 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023

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