What is National Poetry Month?
National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and—of course—poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives every April.
Who started it?
Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996. Along the way the organization enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help. National Poetry Month is a registered trademark of the Academy of American Poets.
Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month?
In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, the Academy of American Poets chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry, in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.
What are the goals of National Poetry Month?
The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
- highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
- encourage the reading of poems
- assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms
- increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
- encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
- encourage support for poets and poetry.
Shouldn't we celebrate poetry all year-round, not just in April?
By all means, yes! The Academy of American Poets encourages the year-round, lifelong reading of poetry. National Poetry Month is just one of the many programs of the Academy of American Poets. To keep the celebration going, consider becoming a member, which entitles you to special benefits throughout the year. You can also sign up for Poem-a-Day to receive free daily poems by email all year long.
How does the Academy of American Poets celebrate National Poetry Month?
We celebrate National Poetry Month with a variety of programs in April.
Do organizations need permission to participate?
No, just as you don't need anyone's permission to celebrate Black History Month or Women's History Month. The Academy of American Poets encourages you to use the official National Poetry Month logo, which can be downloaded here.
What can I do to celebrate NPM?
There are thousands of ways to celebrate. The Academy of American Poets has developed a list of 30 to get you started—one for every day in April.
How can teachers become more involved?
In addition to participating in the Dear Poet project with students, teachers can find free poetry lesson plans and curriculum units on Poets.org. The Academy of American Poets also provides a National Poetry Month tip sheet for teachers, including ideas and success stories from past years. If you're a teacher with a success story you'd like to share, email us and we may post your story on Poets.org. Teachers can also sign up for our monthly Educator Newsletter and our weekly Teach This Poem newsletter.
How can librarians become more involved?
The Academy of American Poets provides a National Poetry Month tip sheet for librarians, including ideas for book displays, programs and discussions, collection development, outreach, and marketing, as well as success stories from past years. If you're a librarian with a success story you'd like to share, email us and we may post your story on Poets.org.
How can I obtain a copy of the National Poetry Month poster?
To request your free copy of the poster, use the online order form.
How can I support National Poetry Month?
If you’re able to support our efforts, please consider a donation to the Academy of American Poets. Contributions from poetry lovers like you help us send posters to tens of thousands of teachers, librarians, booksellers, and event organizers.