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Pulitzer Center Update April 3, 2024

Processing the News Through Poetry: Educator Workshop

Image by Jordan Roth. United States, 2016.

Students are invited to enter poems written in response to news stories to the Fighting Words Poetry Contest. This workshop guides teachers and students in how to craft a successful entry.

March 15, 2022


How can poetry be an effective response to current events and the issues impacting our communities? How can journalism and poetry help us make connections between global issues and our local and personal contexts?

This workshop, held on March 20, 2024, led educators in an exploration of the Fighting Words Poetry Contest, and how they can share this empowering project students. Over the past seven years, thousands of students worldwide have participated in Fighting Words, using poetry as a tool for close reading, empathizing with global stories, and raising their voices. This recorded workshop can be used by educators as a supplement to the resources provided in the contest portal, which include an introductory slide presentation, a graphic organizer, and suggested news stories students can respond to in their poems.

Hannah Berk, Pulitzer Center Senior Program Manager for K-12 Education, was joined by Janelle Bence, a high school English teacher in Texas. Bence shared her experience teaching Fighting Words in her ninth grade classroom, and how she has supported students in writing prizewinning poems.

Access complete Fighting Words Poetry Contest guidelines as well as support resources for educators and students on the contest portal. Read last year's winning poems here. Entries are due Sunday, May 12, 2024!

Students care about what is happening in their community and in the world. They want to be able to make a difference in their local and global communities. This contest is one way that students can share their voices with the world. This contest allows them to make a difference with their words.

Elizabeth Jorgensen, teacher in Wisconsin

This event was held in partnership with the Institute for Regional and International Studies National Resource Center. IRIS NRC supports and enhances global awareness and inspires informed thinking about the complexities of our world. They provide resources and expertise to K-12 and post-secondary educators, students and the community at large.