National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month celebrates poems and poets with annual events taking place nationwide in April. Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, the goal is to increase the visibility of the poetic form, as well as to increase access to it.

Here are some of our favorite resources and program ideas to get your library ready.

Pen on paper with writing
National Poetry Month celebrates poems and poets, with annual events taking place nationwide in April.

General resources

The Academy of American Poets is ground zero for information about this annual celebration of all things poetry. The website provides a list of major promotional events, including Poem in Your Pocket Day. You can also sign up to be emailed a poem each day and search for poetry events in your region. 

The Library of Congress poetry resources features poetry-specific “Today in History” information, webcasts and audio recordings, Civil War poetry, official state poems and more.

The National Endowment for the Arts poetry resources include lesson plans and information on how to stage a poetry slam and create a poetry calendar.

The Poetry Foundation allows users to search by poem, poet, audio/visual and more. For children, they have a poetry learning lab that “encourages readers of all levels to immerse themselves in poetry." They also have an iPhone poetry app.

Teaching resources

Scholastic has classroom activities that are easily adaptable to libraries. They have a page dedicated to National Poetry Month activities.

Read Write Think offers lesson plans for students of all ages that can tailored to fit a library program. There are also resources that focus on writing poetry, such as the favorite poem project.

Education Place features lesson plans for students between kindergarten and eighth grade. Activities include crafts, virtual poetry lessons and fill-in-the-blank poems.

Education World provides lesson plans for students of all ages. There are also poetry articles and resources for both students and teachers.

Library programs

Poetry in the Garden was a series hosted by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County featuring poets from the region. They also offered poetry appreciation and writing activities for kids and teens, including a poetry contest.

Princeton Public Library's Community Poet-Tree encouraged patrons to write an original poem on a paper leaf and hang it on a small tree, like an ornmanet, to display in the library.

A Poem a Day was a monthlong passive progrem held throughout the month of April at the Ralph Ellison Public Library. Librarians printed a different poem each day to set out for patrons to pick up and take home.

Poetry Matters at Greenville Public Library provides a rare — and appreciated — opportunity for poetry lovers to meet and discuss published works that are meaningful to them.


Is your library participating in National Poetry Month? Share it with Programming Librarian.