2017 National Poetry Month Highlights

National Poetry Month Poster

Each year, the Academy of American Poets partners with award-winning designer Chip Kidd to commission a poster in celebration of National Poetry Month. The 2017 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. An accompanying lesson plan suggests poems and activities related to these images.

This year we distributed over 100,000 posters to schools, libraries, bookstores, community centers, and our members.

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2017 poster

Dear Poet

To help teachers and students celebrate National Poetry Month, we offer Dear Poet, a signature multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response poems by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors. Our educator-in-residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, designed a Common Core-aligned lesson plan to help teachers bring Dear Poet into the classroom.

In 2017 we received over 2,000 letters—far more than ever before—from students in 28 states and from over 70 schools. Read a selection of these letters along with the heartfelt responses from our Chancellors.

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Juan Felipe Herrera, Dear Poet 2017

Poetry & the Creative Mind

On April 19, 2017, the Academy of American Poets presented its fifteenth annual Poetry & the Creative Mind reading at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, celebrating National Poetry Month. The evening began with a reading from award-winning poet and memoirist Elizabeth Alexander, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies, and Joey Reisberg, a participant in the National Student Poets program. Special guest readers included Uzo Aduba, Wayne Brady, Maurice Hines, Madhur Jaffrey, Sebastian Junger, James Lapine, Amanda Palmer, Meg Ryan, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Meryl Streep.

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Alice Tully Hall, April 19, 2017

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day as schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets. In 2017, we partnered with the League of Canadian Poets to extend Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.

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poem in your pocket day