National Poetry Month

The Academy of American Poets started National Poetry Month in April 1996 to celebrate the vital place poetry has in our culture. With thousands of local events, it is one of the largest celebrations of poetry in the world. 


Credit: mh

Students are encouraged to submit original poetry and art, film and audio illustrating a poem to the Mattie J. T. Stepanek Poetry Contest.

Short Film Program | Poetic Cinema

Teachers: Visit the free MY HERO Lesson Plan for National Poetry Month for this film program. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.

The following films celebrate poetic cinema. Films and poetry have a connection because of their use of images, sound, and time. 

As you watch these films, consider the techniques used by filmmakers to bring out these elements in poetry.

Still I Rise

Gabriel Diamond, Patrick Barnes, Phil Collis
A visual and musical interpretation of American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s electrifying poem "Still I Rise."

Playas de Tijuana

Sophie Kim
An inspiring poem about the border fence that meets the sea, where names become prayers and where “the worst place to be is here and not there.”

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Produced by:Taft High School

Taft High School student, Matthew Marroquin, takes on the task of illustrating this poem by Robert Frost.

The World Is Too Much With Us

Produced by:Taft High School

Taft High School student, Deana Saito, creates a beautiful visual expression of the poem by William Wordsworth.

Learn about National Poetry Month with Hero Essays

Maya Angelou

By: Susannah Abbey
Maya Angelou is a beloved female author and poet.

Mattie Stepanek: For Our World

Mattie Stepanek: For Our World Mattie's poems of peace and hope have touched millions of lives.

Langston Hughes

By: Jeff Trussell
Biographers have argued that Hughes, the Poet Laureate of Harlem, may have been homosexual. Much of LGBTQ+ history may be lost in this way, because of the lack of social acceptance of other sexualities.

Ilse Bing

By: Wendy Jewell
Ilse Bing was a remarkable poet and photographer whose works withstand the test of time.

"And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."

~ William Shakespeare

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

By: Becky from Spokane
Sor Juana is a famous Mexican writer, poet, nun, and influential women's right leader from the late 17th century


Edna St. Vincent Millay

By: Carl Van Vechten

Langston Hughes

By: Carl Van Vechten

Profile of Fairuz

By: Sobhia Hasan

Mahmoud Darwish

By: Sobhia Hasan

Christine de Pisan

By: unknown

Phillis Wheatley

By: Unknown artist, originally appeared in <br>Revue des Colonies in Paris betwe...

Portrait of William Shakespeare

By: Courtesy of The Cobbe Family Trust

Allegorical Portrait of Dante

By: Bronzino

Walt Whitman by Robert Shetterly,

By: Robert Shetterly

Langston Hughes

By: Robert Shetterly

Sappho of Eressos

By: Roman copy of Greek original - 5th Century BC
"A good poem helps to change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him."
- Dylan Thomas

Effie Waller Smith

By: Unknown

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

By: John Singer Sargent

"A poem...begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words."


- Lucille Clifton

The Poet Max Hermann Neisse

By: George Grosz

Portrait of Rabindranath Tagore

By: Surjit Akre

The Poetry of Mihai Eminescu

By: "Group Writers" from Baicoi, Romania

Films | Poetry Recitals

David Milch Reads from Deadwood at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

David Milch Reads The Eulogy of Wild Bill Hickok from Deadwood at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon.

Paul Cummins Reads Robert Frost @ MY HERO SALON 4/18/13

Producer: MY HERO

New Visions Foundation founder, Paul Cummins, reads Robert Frost at the MY HERO poetry and jazz SALON 4/18/13.

History will be Repeated

Produced by:Trey Carlisle
Trey Carlisle's electrifying performance of his original spoken word poem promoting tolerance.

Olivia Milch Reads Wild Geese at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

Olivia Milch Reads Wild Geese by Mary Oliver at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon.

Poet Against Prejudice [Trailer]

Producer: Faiza Almontaser - Director Albert Maysles - Mentor
Created through with support from, Faiza shares her journey of using her poetry to fight against discrimination.

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Share the Story of your Hero through Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Organizer created on 3/15/2012 2:27:09 PM by Becky Miller

Last edited 3/26/2020 1:24:54 PM by Laura Nietzer