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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Professor creates online blog to promote poetry

Percy Bysshe Shelley once declared "Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar."

With April being National Poetry Month Dr. Tricia Stohr-Hunt, a University of Richmond professor of education and children's literature expert, celebrates the beauty of poetry and its authors through her online blog The Miss Rumphius Effect. A blog she began in November of 2006, Stohr-Hunt first sought to simply further connect with her students.

Over time as the blog has received more public attention, it has evolved into a place where she can review picture books, provide discussion for teaching and learning and even write a bit of poetry with others online.

By the end of April she will have uploaded 36 interviews of children's poets to The Miss Rumphius Effect, highlighting their works and their writing processes for such accomplished works.

The poets answer a standard series of questions about their work, such as "What got you hooked on children's poetry?" and "What are the things you enjoy most about writing poetry for children/young adults?"

Interviews coming this month include Marilyn Nelson, Newberry Medal honoree, and Mary Ann Hoberman, national children's poet laureate. Stohr-Hunt's blog, inspired by the children's book "Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney, has received more than 185,000 visitors from over 164 countries since April 2007.

As a former middle school teacher, Stohr-Hunt found her passion for education and children's literature and sought to expand her huge library of nonfiction with picture books and poetry. But when working on her master's degree and doctorate she forewent children's literature and researched student understanding of science. Now she is returning to her first love, books, and seeing how they can be used to get kids excited about learning.

A poet herself, Stohr-Hunt finds writing poetry analogous to solving a puzzle.

"I try to write in a variety of forms and often write nonfiction poetry," she said.

Last April in lieu of National Poetry Month she wrote a series entitled Poetry in the Classroom and each day highlighted a book of poetry or series of related poetry books on a single topic.

In 2006, Dr. Stohr-Hunt found herself wanting to do so much more with her life.

In RichmondNow Stohr-Hunt was quoted, "My job is to prepare future teachers, and this is the blog of a teacher-educator."

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When one goes to The Miss Rumphius Effect not only can one find literary treasures but also a documentation of Stohr-Hunt's travels to China, Tibet, and Taiwan with a faculty seminar in 2007. Not only through the month of April but year-round, Stohr-Hunt is indeed affecting the future leaders of the world.

Today she publishes a widely known blog, influences people all across the globe and is enhancing children and young adults' futures with poetry.

Contact reporter Amanda Cannada at amanda.cannada@richmond.edu

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