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.
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.
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
- Check in with the Academy of American Poets on poets.org for a full list of resources, compiled in celebration of National Poetry month, including Poem-a-Day and #ShelterinPoems.
- Attend an online open-mic night! Check out The New York Times’ list of poetry month activities from around the world that have gone virtual, providing artists with space to continue connecting during the pandemic. Although some events passed in April, many are still ongoing weekly while the host sites remain closed.
- The National Council of Teachers of English (NTCE) has a number of resources for teaching and learning about poetry, including blog posts following Langston Hughes’s creative process or outlining a poetry one-pager activity.
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