There’s a poem for that.


First introduced to TED Ed lessons while homeschooling Ninja in Spain, I decided I didn’t need an excuse to keep watching them, and have since enjoyed several lessons on my own. They tend to be brief, visually interesting, and on intriguing topics. Only a few days ago I discovered a new TED Ed series featuring animated interpretations of poems, and I immediately got to work preparing a post to bring some to you.

Here’s the first one I watched, of a poem you’re probably familiar with: Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”*


I next checked out William Butler Yeats’ poem called “The Second Coming,” and followed it with the short video discussing the work, as I couldn’t kid myself into believing I’d understood it very well. The poem is read by someone with a pronounced Irish accent, always a bonus, and the animation is fascinating.



The next poem I tried was written by a young poet who speaks both English and Arabic. Again, I loved the animation, and I also enjoyed listening to the brief interview with the poet, Safia Elhillo. If you have access to a larger screen, I recommend it, so you can more fully appreciate the designs that are interspersed among the more representative illustrations.



There are six poems in the first series, so I’ve got a few more to explore. I hope having seen these will give you an appetite to find out more about the rest.


Sudanese-American poet Safia Elhillo and a mural of her in Kingston, New York


*You often hear people complain that the movie wasn’t nearly as good as the book it was based on, and sometimes that judgment comes out of a mismatch between the creator’s vision and the way the reader had pictured things. There’s always a risk when seeing a work of literature brought to life that it won’t be how you imagined it, but I enjoy being able to look into the world that other people have conjured for a particular poem or story. Did any of these visual presentations mess with the way you pictured these poems in your mind?



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