by Denise Johnson
National Poetry Month was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The following information is from and adapted from their website:
What is National Poetry Month? National Poetry Month, established by the Academy of American Poets, is a month-long, national celebration of poetry. The concept was to increase the attention paid―by individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines. In the end, we hoped to achieve an increase in the visibility, presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture. National Poetry Month has been successful beyond all anticipation and has grown over the years into the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.
The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
• Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
• Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
• Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
• Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
• Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
• Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
• Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
The Academy of American Poets website offers a variety of resources, many of which can be used by educators in the classroom:
Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 30th: The idea is simple―select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with coworkers, family, and friends on April 14. Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Ideas for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day can be found by clicking on the link above. This would definitely be a fun activity for kids!
Dear Poet: A multimedia education project that invites young people in grades 5 through 12 to write letters in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors.
Curriculum Units and Lesson Plans: Lessons emphasize developing perception and imagination skills, and most of them align with Common Core State Standards.
National Poetry Map: Provides information on the history, poets, organizations and centers, journals, conferences, festivals, and popular poems from each state in the U.S. Very neat!
Tips for Teachers: Includes a number of creative and inexpensive suggestions for making poetry a more important part of school life during April and throughout the year.