WKMS and Murray State University’s Teacher Quality Institute have teamed up for the sixth year of a special project during April, National Poetry Month. WKMS broadcasts Poetry Minutes showcasing original poems by students in grades 3 – 12 from schools throughout the region. Poetry Minutes air at 7:19 a.m., 11:40 a.m. and 4:19 p.m. weekdays through April 30.
Constance Alexander, MSU Faculty Scholar and award-winning writer, conducted poetry workshops for elementary, middle and high school students, using works of art from Picturing America, a grant program from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Matt Markgraf, WKMS New Media Promotion Coordinator, edited the recordings and created a web presence for Poetry Minutes, so the poems and the art works that inspired them can be viewed and heard online at wkms.org anytime.
In addition to the art works, short poems by poet William Carlos Williams provided structural models for the young writers. Alexander said, “Some of the model poems were as short as sixteen words, with others a bit longer and more complicated. The young writers had to make the best use of vocabulary and syntax to craft effective poems. What impresses me the most is how kids use creative problem solving strategies to communicate their ideas within set structures.”
The Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month in 1996. According to their website, poets.org, the purpose is to “increase attention paid by individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, to poetry books, and magazines.”
WKMS listeners also enjoy a poem a day with The Writer’s Almanac hosted by Garrison Keillor at 8:30 a.m. weekdays and 8:34 a.m. weekends. The Writer’s Almanac is a 5 minute production of American Public Media and sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, "committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience."
The Teacher Quality Institute’s Faculty Scholars work collaboratively with teachers in area schools acting as content specialists to strengthen classroom performance with the ultimate goal of improving student learning. For more information about the poetry project, contact Constance Alexander at 270-809-2686 or email her at Calexander9@murraystate.edu.
WKMS has a weekly audience estimated at about 20,000 listeners in the Four Rivers Region of western Kentucky, southernmost Illinois and northwestern Tennessee. The station's public media services include 91.3 WKMS-FM, Murray; WKMS HD-1 and All-Music HD-2; 90.9 WKMD and WKMD HD-1 and HD-2, Madisonville; 89.5 WKMT, Fulton; 99.5 Paris, Tenn., and All-Music 92.5 Paducah and 105.1 Madisonville. The station also offers both channels WKMS HD-1 and HD-2 at wkms.org, where regular weekly schedules of programs are available. Listeners with questions can call 1-800-599-4737 during regular business hours.