The Academy of American Poets Announces Virtual Programs for the 25th Anniversary of National Poetry Month, the Largest Literary Celebration in the World

New York, NY (March 30, 2021)— Thursday, April 1, marks the beginning of the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, an occasion launched by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate the integral role that poets and poetry have in our culture. This year, National Poetry Month has taken on new meaning and importance, with more readers turning to poetry than ever before

From January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021, traffic to poems on Poets.org was up 116% over the previous year. This increase is the largest the organization has seen in a one-year period since Poets.org launched in 1996, the same year that the Academy founded National Poetry Month. 

In honor of National Poetry Month’s 25th anniversary, and in recognition of the recent surge in poetry readership, the Academy of American Poets offers the following activities, initiatives, and resources, which have been adapted to assist readers in joining the celebration online and at home, and in the virtual classroom, throughout the month of April and beyond.

Poets.org: Official Online Information Hub

Visit Poets.org, the official information hub for National Poetry Month, to find many resources, including a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month online and at home, and 30 ways to celebrate in the virtual classroom.

Poetry Near You

List your online poetry readings and virtual events on the national Poetry Near You calendar on Poets.org. You can also download the official National Poetry Month logo to use on your National Poetry Month event promotional materials.

Poetry for the Virtual Classroom

Share Dear Poet, a special multimedia education project, with students in grades five through twelve. Dear Poet invites students to write letters in response to poems read by award-winning poets serving on the Academy’s Board of Chancellors, including Ellen Bass, Marilyn Chin, Kwame Dawes, and Forrest Gander, as well as poets laureate from across the country. The readings are recorded in a series of exclusive videos presented on Poets.org. Teachers interested in offering Dear Poet as a virtual classroom activity can use this free lesson plan or activities shared by other teachers that accompany the videos. Students or teachers may submit letters by April 30. Selected letters will receive a reply from the poet and be featured on Poets.org in May.

In addition to Dear Poet, the Academy produces Teach This Poem, an award-winning, weekly series that helps teachers and students engage with the art of poetry, as well as lesson plans and tips for teachers to help bring poetry into the virtual classroom. 

National Poetry Month Poster: Featuring Lines by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Order a free copy of the official 2021 National Poetry Month poster, which was designed by twelfth grader Bao Lu from Brooklyn, New York and which features lines by U.S. Poet Laureate and Academy Chancellor Joy Harjo. Copies are available through Poets.org while supplies last; the poster is also available as a downloadable PDF. In partnership with the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English, the Academy of American Poets will distribute 100,000 National Poetry Month posters to teachers, students, families, and individuals throughout the United States.

Poem-a-Day: Curated by Award-winning Poet Jane Hirshfield

Sign up for Poem-a-Day to receive a free poem in your inbox each morning. The series features previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on the weekdays and classic poems from the public domain on the weekends, and is a popular way to engage with poetry daily. On weekdays this April, the series will feature poems selected by award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield.

Poem-a-Day is published on Poets.org, which was redesigned in 2019 to ensure that it adheres to web accessibility standards, and each Poem-a-Day newsletter features, in addition to the text, an audio recording of the poem.

Hashtag: #NationalPoetryMonth 

Follow the National Poetry Month celebrations happening across the country by using the official hashtag, #NationalPoetryMonth. Tweet your online readings or virtual events to the Academy of American Poets @POETSorg so the organization can re-share.

Poetry & the Creative Mind on April 29

Join the Academy of American Poets for its final event of the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, Poetry & the Creative Mind—the organization’s annual benefit—happening April 29 at 7:30 pm EDT. For the first time, the event will be presented virtually, making it available to poetry readers and lovers everywhere. This year’s performers include Event Chair Meryl Streep, Lauren Ambrose, Orlando Bloom, Hasan Minhaj, Samin Nosrat, Sandra Oh, Sarah Sze, among others. Proceeds from the event help fund the Academy’s K–12 Education Program, which reaches more than 100,000 students each year with free resources. Support the work of the Academy by joining the Poetry & the Creative Mind Producers Circle with a gift or register to attend for free

Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 29

Select a poem and share it with others at work, at home, online, or in the virtual classroom on Poem in Your Pocket Day, happening April 29. The Academy of American Poets provides free resources for celebrating National Poem in Your Pocket Day, including a downloadable PDF of pocket poems on Poets.org. Poem in Your Pocket Day was launched in 2002 by the New York City Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets expanded the initiative nationally, and in 2016 to Canada in partnership with the League of Canadian Poets. People can share their poems online using the official hashtag #PocketPoem. 

National Media Resource

Throughout the year and especially in April, the Academy of American Poets responds to media inquiries about poetry in the United States and American poets, providing numerous interviews and information about poetry today. To book an interview with a representative from the Academy of American Poets, contact Michelle Campagna at: (212) 274-0343, ext. 22 or by writing [email protected].

National Poetry Month Sponsors and Partners

The Academy of American Poets’ activities and programming are only possible with the support of National Poetry Month Sponsors and Partners, including 826 National, ABRAMS Books, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Betsy South Beach Hotel, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Glen Hollow, Graywolf Press, National Council of Teachers of English, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, O, Miami, Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, University of Arizona Press, and W. W. Norton & Company.

About the Academy of American Poets

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. The Academy annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1.25 million to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The Academy also produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; originated and organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to the country’s culture.