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About the 


From Homer 2 Hip Hop is a program where young people explore poetry and oral traditions from around the world and discover the role of poetry in the everyday lives of people

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Learn more about City Lore’s Education and Poetry Programs.


With generous support from the Matisse Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Homer 2 Hip Hop (H2HH) is a multi-year in-school arts program that engages young people in exploring poetry and oral traditions from diverse cultures around the world, including from their own communities in NYC. 

Oral poetry has existed much longer than literary poetry, and it continues to thrive as an expressive form in many world cultures, represents peoples’ histories and values, and is integral to their cultural rituals and everyday lives. Oral poetry is important for classroom teachers because it provides a pathway for oral language skill development, creates a crucial link between literature and spoken language, and it expands mainstream conceptions of what constitutes poetry and its functions.


Spoken and sung forms can help students to see connections between their own lives and the poetry they read in school, between literature and social studies, and between cultures and peoples across time and space through the geographic migration and adaptation of these forms and traditions. Making these kinds of connections are critical in terms of fostering a global and interconnected sense of literary heritage and deeper understanding and empathy for diverse cultures and their poetic expressions. It can help develop both oral and written skills, offering suggestions and inspiration for students to create and perform poetry.

Homer 2 Hip Hop Program Structure

  • 16-session in-school residencies at our 4 partner schools: P.S. 69, P.S. 11, I.S. 125, and I.S. 145

  • Dedicated teaching artists specializing in poetry/spoken word/oral traditions, who introduce students in grades 3-8 to diverse, multilingual oral poetry traditions from around the world--including from students’ own cultural backgrounds--and guide them to create their own works in these forms;

  • Students explore the connection between the written/spoken word and other arts, including visual arts, music, theater, and dance;

  • Classroom visits by recognized poets practicing the different traditional and contemporary poetic forms;

  • Training students in City Lore’s POEMobile software to project their words onto buildings and other outdoor and indoor built environments;

  • A culminating poetry gathering where the young poets share their work before their peers and community members;

  • A series of professional development workshops for our teacher-partners; 

  • An evaluation study of 5 years of sequential learning conducted by Wolf Brown Associates; and

  • A published and digital curriculum for educators on integrating poetry and oral traditions in the classroom.

Homer 2 Hip Hop Big Ideas

  • Throughout the world, poetry and oral traditions play an important role in the daily lives of people

  • Different cultures have specific forms and traditions associated with poetry and oral art forms

  • For most of human history, poetry has been expressed orally

  • Poetry can be conveyed not only through words, but visually, sonically, and through movement 

Teaching Artists

School Programs


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