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Abstract

Teaching poetry can serve as a roadblock for many English teachers who lack confidence with the genre. Likewise, high school students struggle reading poetry and creating their own poetic works. In an effort to provide an authentic learning experience for our students, we created a semester-long, collaborative poetry project between our high school and college students. This manuscript provides details about the goals, processes, and takeaways for both groups of participants. The high school students were two classes of freshman-level English students who practiced developing critical literacy skills while reading, reciting, and writing poetry. The college students were pre-service English teachers taking a required graduate level course in teaching adolescent readers. The pre-service teachers developed mentoring relationships with the high school students, thus gaining experience and confidence in teaching the genre. We conclude with reflections, namely how the project provided an authentic audience for the high school students while pre-service teachers had the opportunity to interact with effective literacy pedagogy.