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About the Academy of American Poets: Now in its 80th year, the Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The Academy connects millions of people to great poetry through programs such as Poets.org, one of the leading destinations for poetry online; National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; American Poets, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. Since its founding in 1934, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization.
“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. Here’s a few ways you can get involved this April.
Encourage student participation in the Poet-to-Poet Project
This April for National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets is presenting Poet-to-Poet, a multimedia educational project that invites young people to write poems in response to those shared by award-winning poets who serve on the Academy’s honorary Board of Chancellors.
Academy Chancellors, including Poet Laureate of California Juan Felipe Herrera, National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Edward Hirsch, NEA and Guggenheim Fellow Jane Hirshfield, Lannan Foundation Fellow Naomi Shihab Nye, Pulitzer Prize-nominee Ron Padgett, Jackson Poetry Prize-winner Arthur Sze, Naropa Institute Cofounder (with Allen Ginsberg) Anne Waldman, will each share and discuss one of their poems in a series of exclusive videos presented on the Academy’s website, Poets.org.
After viewing the videos, students are invited to write poems in response and email them, along with their name and the name of the poet who inspired their poem, to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30, 2014. A selection of submitted student poems will be published on Poets.org in May.
To assist teachers interested in offering the Poet-to-Poet project as a classroom activity, the Academy has worked with a curriculum expert to prepare lesson plans, aligned with Common Core Standards, to accompany the videos.
Celebrate (and tweet about) Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 24, 2014)
On a special day in April, the Academy promotes Poem in Your Pocket Day, encouraging people to carry poems and share them with others. 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 can tweet about your Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Explore Poets.org & Our Teacher Tesources
The Academy’s website, Poets.org, has many resources for celebrating National Poetry Month, including lesson plans and other materials for teachers. You can also sign up for the Academy’s Poem-a-Day email to receive a free, never before published poem by a contemporary poet to your inbox every morning.
This April, the Academy will unveil a newly redesigned Poets.org as part of the organization’s 80th anniversary celebration! Visit Poets.org to learn more about the Academy’s National Poetry Month initiatives.