National Poetry Month: Looking at National Poetry - NCTE
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National Poetry Month: Looking at National Poetry

April is National Poetry Month! Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

Inspired by Poetry of Place: Helping Students Write Their Worlds and resources from the Library of Congress, each week this month we will look at place-based poetry, going from the world to your neighborhood. This week we will look at national poetry.

The highest poetry office in the country belongs—both literally and symbolically—to the US Poet Laureate. Headquartered at the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center in the attic of the Thomas Jefferson Building, the Poet Laureateship is the only national position dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of poetry among the American public. Originally established in 1936 as an endowed Chair of Poetry in the English Language, the position, as conceived by Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam, was created to build the Library’s literary collections and encourage their public use. Learn more in this post from the Library of Congress.

Appointed by the Librarian of Congress, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry serves as the nation’s official poet. Access here a growing collection of research guides on US Poets Laureate and Consultants in Poetry from the Library of Congress.

NCTE has been fortunate to work with and learn from a number of US Poets Laureates:

How do you engage with the Poet Laureates?

Curious about the NCTE and Library of Congress connection? Through a grant announced by NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE is engaged in ongoing work with the Library of Congress, and “will connect the ELA community with the Library of Congress to expand the use of primary sources in teaching.” Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

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