Journal of Literacy Research coverCall for Papers for the 2nd issue of the Journal of Literary Education

Very often poetry has been defined as a particular kind of language that does innovative things with words, sound, rhythm and patterns, features that can be a constant source of pleasure but also (and especially for the teachers) of despair. In its strong association with language-play and music, poetry could be found and thoroughly enjoyed in many different forms and manifestations not only in school environments, but also and even more importantly, outside the classroom sphere and beyond the teacher’s influence.

Therefore, it is commonly accepted that poetry can be traced in almost any social environment in human life: a chameleon-like notion that can take many disguises. It appears in all kinds of printed pages and digital media, on the screen and in the street, it takes the form of a song, and so on. It is infused in chants, riddles and lullabies and it can also be transformed into a complex context when it appears concretely combined with pictures.

Children’s poetry, more specifically, has been recently defined as a multimodal art which is “shaped by the dynamics of orality and textuality and by the interplay between them” (2017: 231). Albeit traditionally viewed as a stagnant and conservative genre, with “strong, resilient lines of continuity that runs across the centuries” (Styles, 2012: XIII), it has also become in the last years an innovative genre thanks mainly to the work of some independent publishing houses that are not afraid of taking risks and offer the young readers more challenging books. Thus, as many scholars, critics, or educators have strongly, and in many ways, emphasized children have plenty of opportunities to engage in poetic discourse and creative wordplay, even before their first poetry lesson.

Nevertheless, in classrooms poetry is often treated as a duty and not a pleasure activity, or as a problematic area in school, which causes feelings of disquiet and worry. These feelings can deal with several controversial questions, such as the right interpretation of the poem or the right way of teaching it to students. In Michael Benton’s words (1992:83), poetry has had bad luck in Education.

Nonetheless, poetry for children is nowadays stronger, more varied in its appeal, and more thoroughly studied than it has ever been. There are recent studies (for example, Wakely- Mulroney and Joy, 2018) that offer insightful accounts to the nature and the aesthetics of children’s poetry or its didactic potential.

Considering all this, in what ways LE can help teachers to teach poetry with more confidence and students to encounter it as a rewarding experience? Are there new ways of teaching poetry nowadays? What is the influence of images and the digital cultural on poetic education?

We invite papers related to the overall topic of the issue as described above to be presented. Possible areas for investigation include, but are not restricted to:

  • Children’s poetry and Literary Education
  • Children’s poetry and the oral tradition
  • Children’s poetry as a visual art (multimodality, printed poems, concrete poetry, etc.)
  • The relationship of form and content in poetry: the poem as a “verbal icon”
  • The plurality of poetic form: haiku, tanka, pantoum, limerick, diamante, clerihew, and so on
  • Theories of literature and poetry teaching: from New Criticism to Reader-response
  • Children’s poetry and the young reader: aspects of reading and responding to poems
  • Children and young adults as poets
  • Poetry canon in classrooms
  • Children’s poetry and illustration
  • Poetry picture books: a new way of reading and enjoying poetry?
  • Teaching children’s poetry in school: from manuals to informal spaces
  • Young Adult Poetry and the Internet
  • Empirical studies about poetry and children’s poetry

Submissions are opened all year long for both the Miscellaneous and Monograph section. Papers received before 31 April will be considered for 2019’s issue. Submit your proposals to

Benton, Michael (1992). Secondary Worlds: Literature Teaching and the Visual Arts. Buckingham-Philadelphia: Open UP.
Pullinger, Debbie (2017). From Tongue to Text: A New Reading of Children’s Poetry. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
Styles, M. (2012). “Introduction: Talking the Long View – the State of Children’s Poetry Today.” In M. Styles; L. Joy; D. Whitley. Poetry and Childhood (XI-XVI). Stoke on Trent / Sterling: Trentham Books.
Wakely- Mulroney, Katherine and Joy, Louise (2018).The Aesthetics of Children’s Poetry: A Study of Children’s Verse in English. Oxon and New York: Routledge.

CFP – Children’s Poetry in Literary Education: Issue of Journal of Literacy Education