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Photograph of the inaugural speech of President John F. Kennedy

KC Festival: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Kennedy Center marks the 50th anniversary of a remarkable American presidency
Presidents, America, Dance, Music, Theater, Poetry

Jane Ira Bloom

2700 F St.: Wild Lines: Jane Ira Bloom Plays Emily Dickinson
Jane Ira Bloom is a soprano saxophonist and composer who’s been pushing the boundaries of jazz for more than 40 years.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Jazz, Poetry

Mouth Open, Story Jumps Out

Cuesheet: Mouth Open, Story Jump Out
Master storyteller Polarbear introduces a world of zany characters and madcap adventures. Journey with him as he takes you back to the day he started making up stories for fun, for fame, for friendship…and for his lost father.
Theater, Poetry, Hip-Hop, Family

NSO Family Concert: Casey at the Bat

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Casey at the Bat
The NSO gears up for Spring Training with this fun program inspired by America’s favorite pastime. The highlight of the program is Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke’s baseball composition set to the famous poem "Casey at the Bat."
Music, Musical Instruments, Sports, Poetry

NSO Beethoven at the Ballpark

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassic: Beethoven at the Ballpark!
Find out what baseball and music have in common. You’ll see how numbers play their part, how music adds drama to America’s favorite pastime, and how musicians hit the spot on an instrument, just like players do on the field.
Music, Musical Instruments, Sports, Poetry, Composers, Music Legends

Katie Ernst: Little Words

Cuesheet: Katie Ernst: Little Words: A Performance and Demonstration
Find out what jazz and poetry have in common with jazz music’s triple-threat Katie Ernst, a bassist, vocalist, and composer who brings the poetry of 1920s American writer Dorothy Parker to life in the original program Little Words.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

The Voice of Anne Frank

Cuesheet: The Voice of Anne Frank
Told through dance, music, spoken text, sound effects, and lighting, The Voice of Anne Frank presents a unique view of Anne as a bright and vivacious thirteen-year-old.
Music, Poetry, Theater, Europe, Controversial

Chris Brubeck's Triple Play

Cuesheet: Chris Brubeck's Triple Play: Performance/Demonstration
Join bandleader Chris Brubeck and his high-energy ensemble, Triple Play, to explore the history and evolution of America’s music—the blues.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience

Cuesheet: Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro Cuban Experience: Performance/Demonstration
The Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro Cuban Experience is a jazz ensemble working to continue the legacy of the great jazz master John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

Fresh Noise

Cuesheet: Fresh Noise: A Mashup of Youth Voices
Meet Ella, a young girl on a Hip-Hop journey of discovery. Her adventure takes her to other communities where she experiences music, movement, and poetry.
Hip-Hop, Poetry, Young Artists

Hip-Hop artists

Series: Hip-Hop: A Culture of Vision and Voice
Hip-hop is global, lapping on every shore and landing at every airport. But what does Hip-Hop mean?
Hip-Hop, Young Artists, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Music, Poetry, Visual Arts

Words of Love

Article: Love in Poetry and Words
Need the right words for Valentine's Day? Let the great poets, writers, and thinkers share their thoughts
Language, Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare

Heart-shaped Chocolates

Collection: Love
These resources offer ways to look at the concept of love beyond the lovey-dovey. Whether as sweeping ballet choreography or tragic Shakespearean poetry, you'll explore how love can be expressed in different artistic contexts.
Dance, Education, Poetry, History, Shakespeare, Theater, Tragedy

Hip-Hop

Collection: Hip-Hop Culture
Hip-Hop has blended and transcended its artistic elements to become a means for seeing, celebrating, experiencing, understanding, confronting, and commenting on life and the world. Hip-Hop, in other words, is a way of living—a culture.
Hip-Hop, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Fashion, Innovators & Pioneers, Language, Music, Poetry, Popular Culture, Theater, Young Artists

Martha Graham

Collection: Women in the Arts
From providing historical inspiration to preserving cultural traditions to pushing the boundaries of creativity, explore the contributions women have made and continue to make to the arts.
Dance, Dance Legends, Music Legends, Musicals, Literature, Poetry, Theater

Pencil

Collection: Poetry & Literature
From haiku to hip-hop; slam poetry to the origin of our national anthem. Poetry reaches back through cultural traditions while also inspiring young artists on the cutting edge of self-expression.
Poetry, Young Artists, Literature, Hip-Hop, Shakespeare

Language Arts

Collection: Language Arts Resources
How do fables and myths explain the unknown and preserve cultures? What makes a good story? How do plays comment on societal issues? Grab a pencil and prepare to create original poems, experience the Civil War through letters, and parse symbolism and metaphor in this exploration of language arts.
America, Europe, Folklore, Language, Literature, Native America, Playwrights & Plays, Poetry

Mom and Daughter Doing Crafts

Article: Giving Feedback: Food for Thought for Parents
How can parents talk with and engage with their kids about their creative work? Here are seven suggestions to get you started
Family, Young Artists, Theater, Music, Dance, Ballet, Poetry

Cultural Dancers

Take Five: Cultural Connections
Enliven and enrich your cultural heritage month observances through the arts
Music, Dance, Theater, Poetry, Literature, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Native America, World Cultures, India

Art Teacher With Students

Article: Do Tell: Giving Feedback to Your Students
How can arts educators provide engaging and useful feedback? Here are seven suggestions to get you started
Education, Young Artists, Musical Instruments, Theater, Literature, Music, Poetry, Ballet, Dance

Mother and girl art class

Tipsheet: Going Public
Here are the best and safest ways to share your student's work with the world!
Education, Young Artists, Visual Arts, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays, Literature

Student Critique

Tipsheet: Thinking Outside the Test
Introduction to performance assessment, which provides educators with "real-world" arts assessment strategies
Education, Young Artists, Visual Arts, Dance, Musical Instruments, Poetry

The Star Spangled Banner Sheet Music

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Set a Poem to Music
After exploring a “singable” picture book as a class, each student examines a personally selected poem for rhythm to determine its musical meter.
Music, Poetry, Young Artists

Hip-hop poet

Grades 9-12 Lesson: The Poetics of Hip-Hop
Students will analyze form in Shakespearean sonnets and hip-hop music
Hip-Hop, Poetry, Popular Culture

John Coltrane in Performance December 2, 1962 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Rhythm & Improv: Jazz & Poetry
The musicality of words is an important element of poetry, and many poets carefully consider the sound of the words on the page. Students will listen to and analyze jazz music
Jazz, Poetry, Music

Watching the Sunset

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Haiku: Learning and Sharing
In this two-day lesson, students will look beyond the basics of haiku poetry (three lines, 5-7-5 syllable format) and focus on the content of the haiku.
World Cultures, Poetry, Japan

Dancers in silhouette

Grade 5 Lesson: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Explore and analyze Lift Every Voice and Sing, a poem by James Weldon Johnson.
History, Music, Poetry, Blues, America

trees

Grade 5 Lesson: Trees in Nature and Art
Students will explore the use of trees in the arts (as paintings and poetry), understand basic science involved in forestry, and integrate tree arts and science in a final project.
Plants, Nature, Visual Arts, Poetry, Science

The American Flag

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Oh, Say Can You See…
Students will learn about the history behind the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Geography, History, Military, Music, Poetry, America

Mountains

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Mountain Creation: A Drama Exploration
Students examine a poem about mountain creation from a Native American perspective and watching a scientifically-accurate film about mountain formation
Nature, Poetry, Native America, Science

Asian Haiku

Grades 3-4 Lesson: You Too Can Haiku
This lesson will introduce students to the Japanese poetic form called haiku
Asia, Poetry, Japan

Irish Dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: You’re Invited to a Ceili: Exploring Irish Dance
Listen to Irish music, learn about ceilis, which are festive dance celebrations, view the intricate costumes worn by Irish dancers, and listen to an Irish poem.
Dance, Europe, World Cultures, Music, Fashion, Poetry

Jazz Dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Jazz Music, Dance, and Poetry
In this lesson, students will be introduced to jazz dance and jazz music. They will explore basic jazz dance movements, and will create a cinquain poem inspired by jazz music.
Dance, Jazz, Music, Poetry

slamKC

Video Series: slamKC
This 2011 video series explores the performances of young poets during the Kennedy Center’s An American Playlist. By turns musical, lyrical, and provocative, these original spoken word pieces are supported by Hip Hop giants Questlove and Black Thought.
Poetry, Hip-Hop, Young Artists

Locomotion

Multimedia Series: Locomotion
A foster child uses poetry to cope with his troubled past
Playwrights & Plays, Literature, Poetry, Theater

Drop Me Off in Harlem

Interactive: Drop Me Off in Harlem
Drop Me Off in Harlem will give students the opportunity to explore the art, music, and people that changed Harlem from a neighborhood into a historical landmark
Jazz, Music, History, Poetry, America, Music Legends, Art Venues

Jackie and Caroline reading

Slideshow: Discovering American Scrapbook
Bringing poetry to life through performance
America, Poetry, Presidents, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

Poetry

Audio Series: Poetry Out Loud
How does poetry change when it transforms from written to spoken word? Listen as well-known voices express the work of celebrated poets.
Poetry, Music, Literature

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Rhyme Time
How many words can you rhyme with dance? Use your list to write a short poem. Read it to a friend or family member.
Language, Poetry, Dance

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Patriotic Puzzler
Time to update an old classic. For fun, write a new Pledge of Allegiance. Recite your version out loud for a friend or family member. How would yours sound at the beginning of each school day?
America, Poetry

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Here Ye…
Talk like William Shakespeare. (Hint: a good place to start is by using “thou” in place of “you.”) What dost thou think? ‘Tis easy! Your turn.
Shakespeare, Literature, Poetry, Television, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Rudyard Kipling
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."
Literature, Poetry, India

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Henry David Thoreau
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."
America, Literature, Poetry, Nature

arts quote

Arts Quotes: John Updike
"What art offers is space -- a certain breathing room for the spirit."
America, Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Simonides
"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks."
Greece, Poetry, Visual Arts

arts quote

Arts Quotes: William Shakespeare
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
Europe, Literature, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Simonides
"Dancing is silent poetry."
Greece, Poetry, Dance

arts quote

Arts Quotes: George Santayana
"Music contains a whole gamut of experience, from sensuous elements to ultimate intellectual harmonies."
Europe, Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: William Shakespeare
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
Europe, Literature, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: José Bergamín
"If you really believe music is dangerous, you should let it go in one ear and out the other."
Controversial, Poetry, Literature, Playwrights & Plays, Music

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Confucius
"Let a man be stimulated by poetry, established by the rules of propriety, and perfected by music."
China, Folklore, Poetry, Music

arts quote

Arts Quotes: S.T. Coleridge
"How inimitably graceful children are in general -- before they learn to dance."
Poetry, Literature, Dance

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Maya Angelou
"Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances."
Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Charles Baudelaire
"Genius is childhood recalled at will."
Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Charles Baudelaire
"Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals."
Dance, Europe, Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: W.H. Auden
"Dance till the stars come down from the rafters. Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop."
Dance, Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Berthold Auerbach
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Music, Literature, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Robert Frost
"If you are looking for something to be brave about consider fine arts."
America, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Anatole France
"To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything."
Europe, Poetry, Literature

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Günter Grass
"Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same."
Europe, Literature, Poetry

Francis Scott Key standing on ship

Arts Days: September 14, 1814: O Say Can You Sing?
Key was watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore by the British when he wrote a poem he called “Defence of Fort McHenry.” An important battle in the War of 1812 was raging, and Key was among those aboard American ships in the Chesapeake Bay. Rockets rained down all night on the fort, and Key wondered whose flag would be flying in the morning light.

Imagine his relief to see that “Star-Spangled Banner” waving above the fort the next day—tattered but proud. The poem was set to an existing tune and printed in several newspapers. It became very popular and was often played at public events. In 1931, President Hoover signed a law designating the song as our national anthem.
America, History, Military, Music, Poetry

John Milton

Arts Days: December 09, 1608: A Man of Letters
John Milton is best known for penning Paradise Lost, a really long poem published in the mid 17th century. How long you ask? So long it filled ten books; a second edition published a few years later filled 12 books. In this epic work, Milton explores man’s fall from grace as told in the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. In his version, he incorporates elements from Greek classicism, paganism, and other areas of study.

Milton was a learned man with a broad range of interests, and he wrote about other things, too, like history, travel, marriage, censorship, you name it. Late in life, Milton lost his eyesight completely, but never his rigorous intellect and deep curiosity. He is generally considered the greatest English poet after Shakespeare.
Europe, Poetry, Literature, Controversial

Emily Dickinson

Arts Days: December 10, 1830: The Belle of Amherst
All the time she spent alone helped Emily Dickinson create some of the literary world’s most elegant and haunting poetry. As a girl, she attended school in nearby South Hadley, but was so homesick she dropped out and moved home. While she seldom entertained guests, she read widely and wrote tons of letters and poems—words that give us a glimpse into the workings of her heart and soul.

It was not until after her death in 1886 that her poems were published. Works such as “A bird came down the walk” and “Her final summer” (Dickinson almost never gave her poems titles, so they are generally referred to by their first lines), reveal her capacity for deep intellectual thought as well as an abiding love of nature.
Poetry, Nature

Robert Frost

Arts Days: November 08, 1894: America’s Bard
Robert Frost was still a student at Dartmouth College when his poem “My Butterfly: An Elegy” was published in the New York Independent. Frost was paid $15 for the piece, and he quickly went on to publish another handful of poems. His works—meditations on things in nature, like paths in the forest, leaves changing color in the autumn, a snowfall—capture rural life in lean yet vibrant phrases.

Frost would often write about one thing—a stone wall, for example—but use it as a metaphor for something else, such as the norms of social life in New England in the early 20th century. He spent much of his adult life there, after all, and the region is irrevocably entwined in his poetry books, including From Snow to Snow and You Come Too.
Literature, Poetry, Nature, America

Penguin Book

Arts Days: July 30, 1935: A Soft Spot for Writers
The Penguin publishing house made classic literary works available to a larger audience at an affordable price by publishing paperback editions—not heavy hardcover books that had been the norm up until then.

Allen Lane, Penguin’s founder, had been hunting for something to read at the train station, but had only found magazines and soft-cover romance novels. Among the first authors printed were Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway.

The books, a few cents each in today’s dollars, were color-coded: fiction works had an orange cover, crime a green one, and so on. And how’s this for success? That first year, some three million paperback books were sold.
Literature, Art Venues, Poetry

Dr. Seuss

Arts Days: March 02, 1904: Doctor of Rhyme
Perhaps no author of children’s books is better loved around the world than Theodor Seuss Geisel, whom you probably know simply as Dr. Seuss. Whether it’s The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’ many books combined fantastic creatures with fun, often made-up words set to rhythmic patterns that were designed to teach children how to read through simple repetition.

You might think his books were easy to write, but Dr. Seuss often used a form of poetic rhythm called “anapestic tetrameter.” This is a fancy way of saying that in the phrases he dreamed up, two unstressed syllables were followed by one emphasized one. Read these lines from The Cat in the Hat out loud and you might hear what we mean: “Have no fear, said the cat/I will not let you fall/I will hold you up high/As I stand on a ball.” The bolded words are naturally emphasized as you read them aloud.
Cartoons, Comics, & Animation, Innovators & Pioneers, Literature, Poetry, Popular Culture

Star-Spangled Banner

Arts Days: March 03, 1931: Long May It Wave
On this March day, President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially designating this song as our national anthem. But let’s back up more than 100 years to tell the whole story.

The poem that gave rise to the song was written by Francis Scott Key as he observed—with much anxiety—the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry in 1814 by the British navy. Key’s poem about the American flag that “yet waved” after the attack was printed in several newspapers.

Later, it was set to a popular melody by (ironically) a British composer named John Stafford Smith. The subsequent song became very popular and was frequently played at public events like parades. Also, soldiers in the U.S. Army and other members of the military often played it each time the flag was raised and lowered.
Composers, Poetry, America, Music

Woody Guthrie

Arts Days: February 23, 1940: Music of the People, For the People
The great folk singer Woody Guthrie communicated his messages of social justice and human equality through his music. Living as he did through everything from the Great Depression to the Cold War, Guthrie commented on these and other events’ effects on everyday people, like the hunger many faced in the Dust Bowl years.

“This Land is Your Land” was written in response to the themes of “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin; Guthrie considered that patriotic song to be out of touch with the cares and joys of common folks. When he created the song, he borrowed the melody of an old hymn called “O My Loving Brother” and set his own words to it.

Guthrie didn’t record “This Land is Your Land” until 1943, but he tinkered with the verses over the years, adding new words here and there.
Innovators & Pioneers, Controversial, Music Legends, Music, Folklore, America, Poetry

Langston Hughes

Arts Days: February 01, 1902: From Busboy to Poet
Langston Hughes discovered his passion for literature and poetry in high school, where he began writing his own short stories, poems, and plays for the school newspaper and yearbook.

After graduation, Hughes continued to write while holding down a series of odd jobs, from ship crewman to busboy at a Washington, DC hotel. One day while clearing dishes, he slipped a few of his poems to hotel guest, poet Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay was so impressed with what he read that he wasted little time in introducing Hughes to publishers, who embraced Hughes’ style and vibrant portrayals of African American life in America.

Hughes moved to Harlem in 1929, where he was a key figure in what’s known as the Harlem Renaissance, a time in the early 20th century when African American musicians, painters, writers, and other artists generated a rich array of artistic contributions to American culture.
Innovators & Pioneers, Literature, Poetry

Edgar Allen Poe

Arts Days: January 19, 1809: Master of the Macabre
Influential American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allen Poe was born on this day in 1809. He is credited with popularizing the short story in America, and contributing greatly to the emerging genres of detective fiction and science fiction.

Poe's work is considered part of the American Romantic Movement, but don't be fooled by its name; Poe's best known publications are also classified as Gothic, or literature that combines romance, mystery, and horror, and many of his stories feature themes centered on death.

Poe was also the first well-known American writer to attempt to make a living through writing alone, a decision that resulted in a financially difficult life and career. Even his most famous poem titled "The Raven" was published for nine dollars.
Innovators & Pioneers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature, Poetry

T.S. Eliot

Arts Days: May 09, 1921: The Title Says It All
"April is the cruelest month.”

That’s the famous opening of the 434-line poem created by American poet T.S. Eliot, who mentioned in a letter to a friend on this day that he “had a long poem in mind and partly on paper.”

Once completed, the first draft of “The Waste Land” was 19 pages long (although it got cut along the way.) Throughout the poem’s five sections, Eliot shifted from scene to scene, from speaker to speaker. He also inserted direct quotations from masterworks by Dante, Whitman, and Shakespeare, as well as the ancient Greeks. But make no mistake—Eliot was a bold and original modernist who broke away from the romantic poetry of the past and became a spokesperson for what he considered the hollowness and bleakness of the 20th century. He gave old words new meanings, created new poetic rhythms, and told us that the world we lived in was spiritually ruined.
Innovators & Pioneers, Poetry, Shakespeare

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