New York, NY (January 28, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets, the originator of National Poetry Month—now a worldwide celebration in its twenty-fifth year—invites students in grades five through twelve to participate in Dear Poet 2021, an annual multimedia education project featuring videos of award-winning poets reading their work, including poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors and who have received Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships. Students are encouraged to watch the 21 newly-released Dear Poet videos, write letters in response to the poems, and send the letters to [email protected]. Selected letters will be published on, one of the most visited sites for poetry on the web, and shared on social media during the twenty-fifth anniversary of National Poetry Month this April. Each year, the Dear Poet videos are viewed by tens of thousands of students across the country and more than 3,000 students from 30+ states participate by sending in letters. 

The 21 award-winning poets participating in Dear Poet this year include Academy of American Poets Chancellors Ellen Bass, Marilyn Chin, Kwame Dawes, Forrest Gander, Brenda Hillman, Dorianne Laux, David St. John, as well as Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows Angelo Geter, Rodney Gomez, Alexandria Peary, John Warner Smith, Tina Cane, Tina Chang, Laura Tohe, Elizabeth Jacobson, Porsha Olayiwola, Beth Ann Fennelly, Margaret Gibson, Janice Lobo Sapigao, Assétou Xango, and Stuart Kestenbaum.

“As we've seen from the response to Amanda Gorman’s recitation at the Presidential Inauguration, poets are important figures in contemporary culture. The Dear Poet project provides students with an opportunity to learn about some of the leading poets writing today, to read their work and respond to their work through letter writing. Selected students will even receive a personal response from their poet! As many students continue their studies at home for the next few months, we encourage them to be a part of this great project,” said Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, the Academy of American Poets Educator in Residence. 

To learn more about Dear Poet 2021 and to participate in the project, visit:

For additional resources to assist with the project, visit the Dear Poet lesson plan, read an essay about Dear Poet, and check out one high school’s past participation in the project. For some examples of student letters, visit last year’s Dear Poet page

About the Academy of American Poets 

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The Academy also produces, 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. This year, in response to the global health crisis, the organization joined six other national organizations to launch Artist Relief, a multidisciplinary coalition of arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations working to provide resources and funding to the country’s individual poets, writers, and artists who are impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.