New York, NY (February 11, 2016)—The Academy of American Poets and EDSITEment, the educational website of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), have partnered on a new initiative to bring poetry resources to educators.

“Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community,” is a new set of nine lesson plans organized around the theme of fostering community and understanding through poetry. The lesson plans will be created by Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, the Educator-in-Residence at the Academy.

The Incredible Bridges lesson plans will be built around video and audio recordings of contemporary American poets—including U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Elizabeth Alexander, Richard Blanco, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Claudia Rankine—reading poems that explore the changing nature of community and contribute to building new forms of community and understanding. These materials will be also be featured on NEH’s EDSITEment website, which offers high-quality educational resources for teachers, students, and parents in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies.

Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, the National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency to bring the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation to the American people. NEH has a long history of supporting the study of poetry through its many grant programs.

“NEH is delighted to support Incredible Bridges, the Academy of American Poets’ project for the K-12 classroom,” said Shelley NiTuama, a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Humanities. “From Walt Whitman to the present day, American poets have contributed to the common good through the power of poetry. Incredible Bridges enlists some of America’s greatest contemporary poets reading carefully selected poems that motivate students to deeply engage with the spoken and written word as they build a more profound understanding of themselves, each other, and the country in which they live.”

“The Academy of American Poets has produced resources for teachers of all disciplines interested in incorporating poetry into their classrooms. We’re thrilled to have the NEH’s stamp of approval on our educational efforts,” said Academy of American Poets Executive Director Jennifer Benka.

The Incredible Bridges project will create a rich interactive, multimedia resource for teachers, students, and life-long learners on the important subject of community and its expression through the medium of poetry.

The Academy of American Poets will secure and curate lesson plans that feature poetry by a diverse and exciting range of talented, predominantly contemporary poets. The lesson plans feature an involved, student-driven activity and include audio or video by contemporary poets. Activities will include an experiential introduction to the poems, deep engagement with the text/audio/video, and products created by the student such as essays, letters, commentary, poems, or presentations.

These lesson plans support the National Endowment for the Humanities’ initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role of the humanities in public life.


Celebrating its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency in 2015-16, the National Endowment for the Humanities brings the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation projects to the American people. To date, NEH has awarded $5 billion in grants to build the nation’s cultural capital—at museums, libraries, colleges and universities, archives, and historical societies—and advance our understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy, and language. Learn more at


The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The organization produces, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards a suite of significant prizes for poets.