Teacher Curriculum

What is River of Words?
Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words (ROW) conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of watersheds. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover.

Who is eligible?
Children 5-19 years of age, who are not yet in college. Youth older than 19, but still in high school, are eligible.

When is the deadline?
Each year, US entries must be postmarked by February 15th and received by February 22nd. International entries must be received by March 1st. Entries can be mailed in throughout the year; any entries received after the deadline will be automatically held for the next year's contest.

Where do I mail my entries?
Entries are mailed to the national level and, from there, mailed to the state level for state judging. Submit entries to: River of Words Contest, PO Box 4000-J, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Who sponsors River of Words?
ROW is a nonprofit educational.organization, incorporated in the State of California, supported by grants from foundations and donations from individuals, businesses, and government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency. ROW is affiliated with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, and, in Colorado, with the Colorado Center for the Book and the Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

What ROW resources are there?

River of Words produces and distributes curriculum materials, community partnership resources, and children's art and poetry. Using a grant from the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities (CEH), Kathryn Winograd, a Colorado educator and Colorado Book Award Winner, has developed an online curriculum for teachers. The River of Words curriculum, Teaching the Poetry of Rivers, is now accessible.

Another resource is The Online Poetry Classroom, www.onlinepoetryclassroom.org/index.cfm, which contains lesson plans and searchable poet and poetry databases.

National websites on poetry include www.poets.org and www.modernamericanpoetry.com.

Who judges the work?
Nationally, former US Poet Laureate (1995-1997) and ROW cofounder, Robert Hass judges the poetry, and Thacher Hurd judges the art. Locally, Colorado poets and Colorado Book Award winners judge the poetry. Each year judges are chosen for their background in local connection to education, art, poetry and the environment.

When is the awards ceremony?
The awards ceremony in Colorado has been held in the spring. The awards are hosted by various venues, including the University of Colorado at Denver as a part of the annual Denver Poetry Festival. Children are given a printed booklet produced by the Colorado Center for the Book containing their winning entries as a keepsake, as well as other prizes.

What is Colorado's Participation?
Over 240 children entered River of Words in 2006.

To access the Teaching the Poetry of Rivers Teacher Curriculum:

Please click here for access!