National Poetry Month

U.S. Poet Laureate and Academy of American Poets Chancellor Juan Felipe Herrera

poetry month 2016
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about the celebration

about the celebration

This April marked the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

Thank you for joining in the celebration by listing your events and attending other events in your community, displaying this year's poster, participating in Poem in Your Pocket Dayrecommending the Dear Poet project to a young personsigning up to read a Poem-a-Day, and checking out 30 more ways to celebrate.

We hope National Poetry Month's events and activities will inspire you to keep celebrating poetry all year long!

download the national poetry month logo

sponsors & partners 


National Poetry Month Sponsors



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Dear Poet 

A multimedia educational project that invites young people to write letters in response to poems shared by our Chancellors.

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Anne Waldman

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thousands of individuals across the U.S. carried a poem in their pocket on April 21, 2016. 

find a poem

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poetry & the Creative Mind

Our annual gala was held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 27, 2016.

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Poetry and the Creative Mind


upcoming events

datesort descending
Oct 25 2016

50 Years of Hanging Loose: An Anniversary Celebration

Jen Benka is the executive director of the Academy of American Poets. She worked previously as the managing director of Poets & Writers and for 826 National. She is the author of Pinko and A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers. Jen holds an MFA from the New School.

Kimiko Hahn’s recent collection, Brain Fever, was triggered by neuroscience in much the same way that previous work was triggered by Asian American identity, women’s issues, necrophilia, entomology, black lung disease, and on. She is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY, and new president of the Poetry Society of America.

Cathy Park Hong is the author of Engine Empire (Norton, 2012), Dance Dance Revolution (Norton, 2007) and Translating Mo’Um (Hanging Loose Press, 2002). Her essays have appeared in The Guardian, New York Times Magazine and The Village Voice. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and is the Poetry Editor at The New Republic.

Robert Hershon’s fourteenth poetry book, Freeze Frame, appeared this year from Pressed Wafer. His other recent titles include Goldfish and Rose (2013) and Calls from the Outside World (2006), both published by Hanging Loose Press. Hershon’s awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three from the New York Foundation for the Arts. As a founding coeditor of Hanging Loose Press, he is making plans for the press’s fiftieth anniversary next year.

Dick Lourie is the author of the poetry collections Calls on the Dream Telephone (1968), Stumbling (1974), Anima (1978), Ghost Radio (1998), and If the Delta Was the Sea (2009), a collection of poems based on the history and music of Clarksdale, Mississippi, where Lourie has performed as a blues saxophone player. He has also released two CDs combining his sax playing and spoken word with a blues band. A founding coeditor of Hanging Loose, Lourie has edited more than 100 titles for the press as well as co-editing with Mark Pawlak several collections of writing by high school students drawn from the pages of the magazine.

Mark Pawlak is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Reconnaissance: New and Selected Poems and Poetic Journals, other books include Official Versions and Special Handling. His poems have appeared widely in such anthologies as The Best American Poetry and Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust; and in many literary magazines, including, New American Writing, Mother Jones, Poetry South, The Saint Ann’s Review, and Solstice. His work has been translated into German, Spanish, and Polish, and has been performed at Teatr Polski in Warsaw. He supports his poetry habit by teaching mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Boston-- and he is also one of the editors of one of the longest running literary magazines and small presses on earth – Hanging Loose Magazine and Hanging Loose Press.

The first issue of Hanging Loose magazine was published in 1966. The name was inspired by the format -- mimeographed loose pages in a cover envelope -- and that, in turn, was inspired by a very low budget. But the format was also meant to get across a point of view: that poetry is for now, not for the Ages. If you liked a poem, you could pin it to the wall. If you didn’t like a poem, you could use it as a napkin.

Admission fee: $10.00
Poets House
10 River Terrace
10282 New York, New York
Oct 26 2016

Poetic People Power's 14th Annual Show

Take Your Time! On October 26, Poetic People Power will present its 14th annual show. This year's show, Take Your Time, premieres new poems examining how our overworked culture and lack of leisure time is affecting our health, relationships, and communities. Inspired by the Take Back Your Time movement, this informative and engaging spoken word show explores the psychology, cultural differences, and consequences of time poverty. For 14 consecutive years, Poetic People Power has creatively explored social and political topics, offering insight and solutions to issues that affect our everyday lives.

 This year's poets include Bogar Alonso, Tara Bracco, Philippe Garcesto, Karla Jackson-Brewer, Angela Kariotis, Shane Michael Manieri, Scottt Raven, and Shetal Shah. Produced by Tara Bracco. Funding has been made possible by the Puffin Foundation.
 Tickets: $15 online at, $10 for students, $20 at the door

Admission fee: $15.00
Theater at 224 Waverly
224 Waverly Place
10014 New York, New York
Oct 27 2016

Pulitzer Centennial Poetry Celebration

At this once-in-a-lifetime event, 13 Pulitzer Prize-winning poets will share the stage to read from their own prize-winning collections as well as select poems by past winners. Join us in celebration of their achievement, of the Centennial year of the Pulitzer Prizes, and of PSA's founding role in sponsoring the earliest years of the prize for poetry. Featuring: Rae Armantrout, John Ashbery, Peter Balakian, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dunn, Jorie Graham, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Philip Schultz, Vijay Seshadri, Natasha Trethewey, and Charles Wright. The reading will benefit the Poetry Society of America's public programming and signature initiative, Poetry in Motion.

The reading is co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs; the New York Council for the Humanities; the Pulitzer Prizes as part of the Pulitzer Centennial Campfire Initiative; and supported by Alfred A. Knopf; Four Way Books; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Graywolf; HarperCollins; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Little, Brown and Company; Louisiana State University Press; W.W. Norton; New Directions; NYRB Poets / New York Review Books; Penguin; University of Chicago Press; Wesleyan University Press. Tickets: 

Admission fee: $15.00
7:00pm to 10:00pm
The Great Hall of the The Cooper Union
7 E 7th Street
10003 New York, New York

recent news and updates

May 03 2016
Portland Art Museum's Poem in Your Pocket Day Handouts
From poets across the country challenging themselves to write a poem each day in April; to skyward murals of poems on the rooftops of Miami buildings for fliers to see; to students in Seattle, many of whom are refugees, telling their personal stories through poems broadcast on public radio... National Poetry Month is an umbrella for many innovative and inspiring local celebrations of poetry, which, together, reach tens of millions of individuals.
Apr 27 2016
Speedway & Swan is a one-hour free-format radio program that presents contemporary poetry against a context of musical selections. In each episode, creator and host Brian Blanchfield, who won the 2014 James Laughlin Award, is joined in conversation by a rotating cohost who reads a selection of poetry from his or her personal canon, along with poems from recently released poetry collections.