The 2017 National Poetry Month poster was designed by award-winning author and illustrator Maira Kalman, who has been called “the John Ashbery of painted illustration, whimsical and haunting, but with more dogs and pastry.”

The poster features an array of images—a rhinoceros, a woman singing, a birthday cake—rendered in paint, collage, and other media. In the downloadable PDF of the poster, each of these images links to a related poem.

Kick off National Poetry Month in the classroom with the following activities for this year's poster.

download the poster

Classroom Activities for the National Poetry Month Poster

National Poetry Month Poster

  1. Project the poster in the front of your classroom and invite your students to choose an image and read the related poem. Read the essay “How to Read a Poem” by Edward Hirsch.
  2. Have your students choose an image from the poster. Click on it, read the related poem, and talk about how the image and the poem relate to each other. Learn more about ekphrastic poetry.
  3. Invite your students to explore the related poems by clicking through from the images on the poster. Have them each write a poem of their own inspired by their favorite poem and image. Learn more about poetic terms and forms.
  4. Invite your students to read the related poems and draw a picture inspired by their favorite. Then, show them the poster and have them guess which image is related to the poem they chose. Browse a selection of poems about the visual arts.
  5. Hold a poetry festival in your school. Have your students read or memorize the poems for an audience. Discover more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in your community.
Featured Poems

To read the poems associated with the 2017 National Poetry Month poster, download the poster and click on each image, or browse the anthology below.

More National Poetry Month Resources

Sign up for Teach This Poem to receive one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. In April 2017, Teach This Poem will feature poems from the National Poetry Month poster.

Invite your students to write letters to award-winning poets with Dear Poet, a multimedia education project featuring videos of eleven poets, including U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, reading their work. We will consider all letters for publication on in May 2017, and our Chancellors will reply to select letters of their choosing.

Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27 by having your students select poems to carry with them and share with others throughout the day. 

Engage with the celebration on social media using the hashtags #npm17 and #pocketpoem, and share your photos and stories from National Poetry Month with us on Twitter @POETSorg.