Poetry - National Council of Teachers of English



NCTE and the NCTE Secondary Section welcome members to join us for a 2024 Poetry Month event focusing on how to engage students in poetry through reading and writing. Attendees will hear from Joanne Veal Gabbin on teaching poetry in ways that go beyond formal analysis and move towards incorporating poetry authentically into instruction.

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In honor of National Poetry Month and in conjunction with Earth Day, the NCTE Middle Level Section invites students and teachers to participate in a national writing event by sharing poems with our communities April 22–26, 2024.


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Interviews with Poets



An Interview with Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native writer to be named US Poet Laureate.

Ladders of Memory

A Conversation with Former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

“When I came to school, if I hadn’t found writing, if the teacher hadn’t acknowledged me, if I hadn’t found my voice, I wouldn’t be here.”

This Giant Classroom That Is America

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo discusses the writing process and poetry and literature with young people.

Elizabeth Acevedo Shares Her Heart, Teacher to Teacher

NCTE Verse

#NationalPoetryMonth kicks off on April 1, and you’re invited to join NCTE members from across the country in NCTE Verse, a member-exclusive FREE professional learning opportunity aimed at providing ideas and inspiration around poets and poetry!

See posts from 2022.

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Poetry Books


Teach Living Poets opens up the flourishing world of contemporary poetry to secondary teachers, giving advice on reading contemporary poetry, discovering new poets, and inviting living poets into the classroom, as well as sharing sample lessons, writing prompts, and ways to become an engaged member of a professional learning community.

The #TeachLivingPoets approach, which has grown out of the vibrant movement and community founded by high school teacher Melissa Alter Smith and been codeveloped with poet and scholar Lindsay Illich, offers rich opportunities for students to improve critical reading and writing, opportunities for self-expression and social-emotional learning, and, perhaps the most desirable outcome, the opportunity to fall in love with language and discover (or renew) their love of reading. The many poems included in Teach Living Poets are representative of the diverse poets writing today.


From synesthetic poems to questioning poems to the ghazal, Lightning Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises has something fun or fascinating for every student and teacher as they explore the possibilities of poetry writing. The exercises teach and utilize technique while also focusing on and inspiring the intuitive and imaginative qualities of poetry.

Each poem type includes an introduction explaining the exercise’s goal, detailed instructions, and a student example. The 75 activities are divided into three sections: exercises that focus on different types of imagery and ways to generate fresh imagery; exercises born out of unusual prompts and ideas that engage a writer’s experiences in the real world; and exercises related to what form might look like or how it might function.

Kyle Vaughn invites every writer to explore the power of poetry, illuminating the way through the endless possibilities for inspiration.

2024 NCTE Notable Poetry Books

Here are outstanding poetry books to offer children and teens—not just this month, but throughout the year and across the curriculum. Use these books, and create connections with books from previous Notable Lists (2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 201920182017201620152014201320122011) to create even more poetry joy!

2024 List