Celebrate the Artful Act of Poetry in April

Looking forward to
National Poetry Month
Best month all year long

– A Haiku by Logan Brody, amateur poet and public media enthusiast

April is National Poetry Month! With the springtime comes a renewed sense of creative energy, and there’s no better time to start exploring the wide world of poetry – one of the oldest art forms known to humankind. Haiku, sonnet, spoken word, epic, limerick, ode… the list of poetic forms goes on and on. Poetry can be used to voice our innermost thoughts, feelings and impulses, or to interpret the world around us through vivid description and inventive wordplay. It’s also a great way to explore literacy and self expression with children of all ages. Try using poetry as an “anywhere, anytime” activity, flexing kids’ brainpower and willingness to share.

Appreciate poetry in all its forms this month with the articles, activities, profiles on notable poets, and more below.

Jump to article sections:

Explore the Art of Poetry

Sons of Poetry | Sesame Street

Grades PreK-K
The Sons of Poetry circle their bikes to find the perfect rhyme. Explore poetry and practice rhyming with this parody video.

Your Child’s a Poet, and Here’s How to Show It

Grades PreK-3
There’s a really easy way to spice up your child’s reading and writing routine: poetry! Sprinkling poems into your usual mix can keep reading time fresh while boosting literacy skills. 

Starting Out | Engaging with Literature

Grades 3-5
Learn new techniques to help students make personal connections to poetry in this 20-minute video. Jonathan Holden’s 4th-grade class discusses poems in small groups, create “puzzles” and write their own poems to connect to texts.

The Anthology of Rap

Grades 6-12
This video explores how rap is treated as poetry in the book “The Anthology of Rap.” Students will explore the history of rap music as lyrical poetry and understand the difference between rap music and hip hop culture. Lyrical poetry is a type of poetry with rhyming schemes that express personal and emotional feelings. This form of poetry does not have to rhyme and contemporarily is set to a musical beat.

Poetry Everywhere Collection

Grades 6-12
Explore the power of language, look at the world with a fresh sense of wonder, and build reading and writing skills. These video segments, drawn from the PBS Poetry Everywhere series, capture some of the voices of poetry, past and present.

Learn About Notable Poets

Remember | Poetry Read Along with Joy Harjo

Grades PreK-3
Join PBS Kids and United States Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo in a very special reading of one of her poems, “Remember” from her book, “How We Became Humans.”

Walt Whitman | Journalist and Poet Video

Grades 3-8
Walt Whitman was a progressive voice and innovative writer during a critical period of change in the United States. In the midst of the Civil War, his poetic and journalistic works, spanning topics from the personal to the political, marked the start of a new era for American literature. Whitman’s powerful poetry revealed his personality and depicted the United States as a place worthy of both high praise and sharp criticism.

Langston Hughes | Know Ohio

Grades 3-8
In this video from Know Ohio, Mary discusses jazz poetry and one of its leading pioneers, Ohioan Langston Hughes. Hughes spends his early impressionable years in Cleveland. 

“The Raven” | Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive

Grades 6-12
Nevermore, Lenore! Learn about the story behind Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven,” in this video from the American Masters film Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive. Check out the support materials for discussion questions, teaching tips, and handouts that provide a variety of fun ways to share the poem with students. Through an analysis of mood, alliteration, diction, and imagery, students unpack the meaning of Poe’s poem and learn more about one of the most elusive writers in American literature.

Audre Lorde

Grades 9-12
Examine the life and influence of Audre Lorde, a Black feminist lesbian poet who believed that naming our full identities was an essential part of radical social change. Utilizing video from First Person: Classroomdiscussion questions, and teaching tips, students will learn about intersectionality, and how to speak one’s own truth.

Activities, Books & More

Grover’s Rhyme Time Game

Grades PreK-K
Learn all about rhyming with Grover in this fun train game! Conductor Grover leads the way as you drive the train and pick which words rhyme. Don’t forget to blow the whistle! Choo Choo!

Awesome Alliteration | WordGirl

Grades K-2
Introduce children to alliteration—the writing technique of repeating beginning sounds. Explore alliteration through WordGirl video clips to recognize and define the concept. Then have kids generate a list of alliterative words and write their own original poem!

The Best of Shel Silverstein

Grades PreK-4
Say the name “Shel Silverstein” aloud and adults and children alike think of clever, sometimes subversive, poems with comic line drawings and lots of laughs. You know that when you pick up a book by this writer and poet you’re in good hands. Find familiar and less familiar books on this list — and celebrate language, poetry, and an astute creator of books for children of all ages.

Elements of Poetry

Grades 6-12
In this interactive lesson, discover how literary techniques like figurative language, imagery, and symbolism contribute to the overall meaning of a poem. Explore how a poet establishes and builds on a theme. Learn how to tell the difference between tone and mood. Through a close reading of Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Caged Bird” (1983), practice unpacking the language of poetry while learning about some of the various tools a writer can utilize when writing a poem.

Stargate Theatre | “I Am Poem”

Grades 9-12
This video for teachers depicts a word wall poetry activity used by the Manhattan Theatre Club with the Stargate Theatre Company. By encouraging students to use descriptive language and imagery based on various word wall themes, each student composes an “I Am Poem” and then shares their work with other students. A handout provides a step-by-step guide for teachers to use the activity in their own classroom, as well as a model of student work that can be shared with their class.

Literary & Poetry Organizations

Adirondack Center for Writing

The Adirondack Center for Writing brings people and words together. The ACW cultivates the art of writing and the joy of reading; celebrate the power of language to invite discovery, to create an understanding of people and sense of place, and to build a community. This National Poetry Month, be sure to enjoy the many poems hanging in windows throughout Saranac Lake contributed by ACW community members involved in their PoemVillage program.

Quebec Writers’ Federation

The Quebec Writers’ Federation provides English-language programs, services, opportunities, and community for aspiring, emerging, and established writers and the wider community. QFC works to undertake activities which will increase public awareness of the literary arts and of literary institutions within the province.

Poetry Society of America

The Poetry Society of America is the nation’s oldest poetry organization, founded in 1910, placing poetry at the crossroads of American life. The PSA transforms public spaces into sites for imaginative encounters with poems, engages diverse and often underserved communities, amplifies the voices of poets around issues of common concern, and honors their aesthetic contributions to our lives.

Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation organizes and hosts free live events, engaging, multifaceted exhibitions that bring together visual arts and the written word, and digital programs on its website, social media and free Poetry app.