National Poetry Month (aka April) may be over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue celebrating! In honor of Poetry Month, and more urgently, in order to support young artists and writers who may be turning to creativity during this challenging time, alumni of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) have come together to create an online resource with free poetry workshop curricula for high schoolers and middle schoolers. 

NSPP alumni who collaborated to create On Isolation: A Series of Poetry Prompts and Exercises on Growth, Healing, and Crisis.
Excerpt from Agitation, Maya Eashwaran’s 2016 Scholastic Award winning poem. Check out the full piece in the Online Gallery.

Maya Eashwaran, NSPP class of 2016, got the ball rolling on this project by reaching out to fellow NSPP alumni from across multiple class years. “I think it’s vital during this unprecedented time to provide guidance and inspiration to students as they navigate uncertainty with creativity,” Maya wrote to her peers. 

Five National Student Poets are selected annually from a pool of Scholastic Award Gold and Silver National Medalists in grades 10 and 11, each representing a different geographic region of the United States. A collaboration of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, NSPP selects these five exceptional young poets to serve as literary ambassadors for the coming year. Each poet travels within their region to conduct workshops on poetry and promote interest and appreciation of poetry among their peers. 

NSPP Class of 2018 poets Heath Laurel Jensen, Darius Atefat-Peckham, Ariana Smith, Daniel Blokh, Alexandra Contreras-Montesano lead a workshop to Alliance for Young Artists & Writers staff in October 2018. Heather, Ariana, and Daniel contributed to On Isolation.

With a background in creating and hosting poetry workshops, NSPP alum are uniquely qualified to turn their lesson plans into accessible, free online learning tools created by young people for young people. Their free online resource, On Isolation: A Series of Poetry Prompts and Exercises on Growth, Healing, and Crisis, includes thoughtful lessons and prompts from 10 NSPP alumni. The prompts and exercises are descriptive, walking through step-by-step instructions for each prompt. These are perfect to walk through on your own, in a video chat with friends, or in a virtual class. Even if you don’t identify as a “poet,” there is something to be learned in each activity! Download the free PDF guide here to challenge your thinking and start exploring.

More Resources from Poetry Month

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One response to “Thoughtful Thursday: Celebrate Poetry with Exercises from National Student Poets”

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