ReadWriteThink.org and NCTE have a long-standing relationship with the Academy of American Poets. Together, we're gearing up for National Poetry Month. We are pleased to share with you this blog post written by Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. Enjoy!
“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.”
-- Mark Strand
Reading poems not only builds literacy skills, it lights the imagination. In April 1996, the Academy of American Poets, the largest membership-based nonprofit poetry organization, launched National Poetry Month to introduce more readers to the art form. Today National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, reaching millions of Americans and inspiring generations of future readers and writers. April is right around the corner, but it’s not too late to get involved. Here are some simple ways to celebrate National Poetry Month 2013:
Encourage student participation in the Dear Poet Project.
This spring on Poets.org, the Academy will be celebrating the role that correspondence has played in poets’ development and writing lives. Our special project for April, the Dear Poet Project, encourages students to engage with poetry by reading poems from established poets, Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, and responding to the poems by composing a hand-written letter to the poet. Select letters submitted to the Dear Poet Project will receive a direct reply from the poet and will be featured on Poets.org in May. To help teachers involve their classes, we’ve created a version of the Dear Poet Project for grades 7-10 that has been prepared by a curriculum specialist and aligns with Common Core standards. Visit www.poets.org/dearpoet to get involved.
Celebrate (and tweet about) Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 18, 2013).
On a special day in April, the Academy promotes Poem in Your Pocket Day, encouraging people to carry poems and share them with others. On this day each year, many schools throughout the United States host student poetry readings, have students distribute poems throughout the school, or reward students caught with poems in their pockets. As a resource for Poem in Your Pocket Day participants, the Academy has created a page of poem PDFs ready for distribution. If you are active on social media, you might tweet about how your school is celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day using the hashtag #pocketpoem. For more information about Poem in Your Pocket Day, visit www.poets.org/pocket.
Display the National Poetry Month poster.
Every year, in the months leading up to National Poetry Month, the Academy distributes over 150,000 complimentary poetry posters to librarians, teachers, and booksellers throughout the United States to help with their poetry celebrations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your copy of the poster for 2013, and sign-up for next year’s poster beginning in early February by visiting www.poets.org/poster.
Explore Poets.org & sign-up to receive monthly poetry lesson plans.
Every month the Academy of American Poets works with a curriculum specialist to develop a poetry lesson plan that aligns with Common Core standards and connects to a timely theme. We send these lesson plans out in a newsletter (subscribe at www.poets.org/subscribe) and they live on the Poets.org educators’ homepage at www.poets.org/edu. In addition to poetry lesson plans, Poets.org is home to audio and video footage from poetry readings; thousands of poems and essays; and accessible, detailed biographies of poets.
For 30 ways to celebrate in April and further details about the Academy’s April programming, visit us at www.poets.org/npm. Also, please feel free to share your feedback and send photos and video from your celebrations to email@example.com. We often use these to inspire other participants. Happy National Poetry Month!