Article for Teachers

Summer Poetry Teachers Institute

July 8-12, 2019.
By The Editors

In July 2019, the Poetry Foundation will be hosting its fourth annual Summer Poetry Teachers Institute in Chicago. The five-day event will include seminars and workshops with some of today’s most compelling poets. Also, participants will study and discuss poetry with renowned poetry practitioners and expert teachers to develop lesson plans to bring back to their classrooms. Teachers will receive 30 Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for completing the Institute, and tuition will be paid by the Poetry Foundation

The Institute encourages conversations among teachers about past successes, challenges, and insights in bringing poetry to students in their various communities. The Institute offers participants a fresh, energizing approach to reading poems, invaluable materials for teaching, and new ways to invigorate their instructional habits and practices. The central idea is that the experience of the poem should precede analysis. You can view a video of past participants:

We invite teachers across K-12 grade levels and community college instructors to apply. The Institute seeks a range of participants: new and experienced teachers, those who enjoy teaching poetry, and those who have shied away from it. We will begin accepting applications online via this Google Form in early March 2019.

We believe that poetry is broad and inclusive; there is a place for everyone in poetry. And yet poetry is mysterious and open, so teaching poetry is uncertain and no one has the answers. A poem can be something you can carry with you and experience again and again in different ways. We believe teachers can instill a passion for poetry as they find multiple entry points for different students.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does the Institute cost?
A: There is no cost to attend. Attendees are responsible for their transportation and parking. 

Q: Where will the Institute take place? 
A: The Institute will be held at the Poetry Foundation (61 W. Superior, Chicago) and at the University of Illinois at Chicago (700 S. Halsted). 

Q: Do you offer lodging? 
A: We can offer lodging to those who live outside of a 50 mile radius of downtown Chicago.

Q: I don’t know much about poetry. Can I participate?
A: Our aim is to make all teachers more comfortable with teaching poetry, so we definitely encourage you to apply. 

Q: As an elementary teacher, will I be in the same seminars and workshops as community college instructors?     
A: The elementary section will be run separately, but concurrently with the higher levels. The material and activities will be specially designed for K-5 levels. 

Q: I attended the Institute last year. Can I apply this year? 
A: Yes. We have restructured the program and its mission this year and welcome returning attendees to apply.   

Q: I've submitted my application. When do I hear back?
A: Applicants will be notified during the 3rd or 4th week of April.


Originally Published: March 1st, 2017