National Poetry Month FAQ
What is National Poetry Month?
National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.
Who started it?
The Academy of American Poets has led this initiative from its inception in 1996 and along the way has enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help.
When is National Poetry Month?
April. Every year since 1996.
Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month?
In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, the Academy chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March), and on the advice of teachers and librarians, 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
- Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
- Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
- Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
- Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
- Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
- Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
Shouldn't we celebrate poetry all year round, not just in April?
By all means, yes! We encourage the year-round, life-long 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 of the Academy and receive special benefits and privileges year round. You can also subscribe to receive daily poems by email for free all year long.
How does the Academy celebrate National Poetry Month?
- Posters: Each year the Academy creates and distributes nearly 200,000 official NPM posters, which are mailed for free to teachers, librarians, and booksellers nationwide.
- Events: The Academy presents several special events and readings in April, including our star-studded annual Poetry & The Creative Mind.
- Publicity: To ensure that poetry gains national attention in the media each April, the Academy sends press releases to editors and journalists across the country. As a result, thousands of articles about poetry appear in newspapers, magazines, and online media outlets. The Academy also acts as the official clearing house for news and information about National Poetry Month.
- Inspiration & Guidance: The Academy offers a plethora of practical resources for celebrating NPM, including tips for teaching poetry during April, creating a poetry book display in your bookstore or library, presenting a poetry reading or contest, and much more.
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, you do not need permission to become part of National Poetry Month.
What can I do to celebrate NPM?
There are thousands of ways to celebrate. We've developed a list of 30 to get you started—one for every day in April.
How can teachers become more involved?
In addition to free poetry lesson plans and curriculum units, the Academy provides tip sheets 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.
How can librarians become more involved?
The Academy provides tip sheets 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 booksellers become more involved?
The Academy provides tip sheets for booksellers, including ideas for marketing, merchandising, and special events, as well as success stories from past years. If you're a bookseller with a success story you'd like to share, email us and we may post your story on Poets.org.
Does it cost anything to celebrate National Poetry Month?
Not necessarily. A school or library that has an already scheduled program for April can simply offer it under the umbrella of National Poetry Month. The Academy offers free poetry lesson plans, which could be taught in April. A radio station could develop a program for April from its own audio library, without incurring additional cost. Finally, all the poems, essays, and audio clips on Poets.org are available for your personal use and enjoyment free of charge.
How can I obtain a copy of the National Poetry Month poster?
To request copies of posters, use our handy online order form. To view images of all our posters, old and new, visit our NPM poster gallery.
How can I support National Poetry Month?
Donations in support of National Poetry Month are much needed and greatly appreciated. Simply designate your donation for National Poetry Month, and you'll help the Academy support the celebration of poetry in April.