First Kiss by Tim Seibles

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“My mouth / had been a helmet forever / greased with secrets…” Tim Seibles narrates his poem “First Kiss” from his collection Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2004) for this TED-Ed animated short film directed by Hannah Jacobs, part of the “There’s a Poem for That” series.

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On Lockdown

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“We are // more vulnerable / by far // than is realized / by even our // least sung, / furthest flung, // and most / compromised.” This Motionpoems short film directed by Calum Macdiarmid features a poem written by Motionpoems founder Todd Boss, the first in a series that specifically speaks to a pandemic-ridden world which was commissioned by the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for the Art of Medicine.

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Why Should You Read Moby-Dick?

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“It’s a multilayered exploration of not only the intimate details of life aboard a whaling ship, but also subjects from across human and natural history, by turns playful and tragic, humorous and urgent.” In this TED-Ed animated lesson by Sascha Morrell and directed by Martina Meštrović, the unique narration and imagery of Herman Melville’s classic novel is explored and celebrated.

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The World’s First Author

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“Her odes to Inanna mark the first time an author writes using the pronoun ‘I,’ and the first time writing is used to explore deep, private emotions.” This animated TED-Ed lesson by Soraya Field Fiorio explores the writings of Enheduanna, a high priestess in ancient Mesopotamia who is widely considered the world’s first author and wrote forty-two hymns and three epic poems by the time of her exile.

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The Master and Margarita

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“Written in Moscow during the 1930s, this surreal blend of political satire, historical fiction, and occult mysticism has earned a legacy as one of the twentieth century’s greatest novels—and one of its strangest.” This TED-Ed lesson by Alex Gendler, directed by Adriatic Animation, depicts the premise of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita and the circumstances surrounding its writing and eventual publication in the 1960s.

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Examining The Joy Luck Club

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“Tan speaks to anxieties that plague many immigrants, who often feel both alienated from their homeland and disconnected from their adopted country.” In this TED-Ed animated film, Sheila Marie Orfano breaks down the themes of Amy Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, and the lessons learned from the intergenerational relationships of the characters.

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For Estefani

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“Elephant on an orange line, underneath a yellow circle / meaning sun. / 6 green, vertical lines, with color all from the top / meaning flowers.” In this animated short film for the TED-Ed “There’s a Poem for That” series, Aracelis Girmay reads her poem “For Estefani Lora, Third Grade, Who Made Me a Card” from her collection Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007).

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