New York, NY (March 20, 2024)—The Academy of American Poets launches new educational programs for high school students and readers of all backgrounds with a $500,000 two-year grant from Hawthornden Foundation.

The Academy’s new education outreach initiatives, which consist of a series of online literary seminars for life-long learners and a series of classroom workshops for students and teachers in New York City public schools, coincide with a year-long celebration of the organization’s history and vision for poetry. The Academy strives to foster deeper appreciation of poetry as a vital instrument for the advancement of cultural and civic conversation.

This March, the inaugural Poetry in the Schools program will bring four experienced teaching artists, all of whom are practicing poets based in NYC, into high school classrooms in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. As part of the curriculum, students will read and discuss classic and contemporary poems; generate their own writing in response to the poems they are studying; and receive complimentary copies of a poetry volume by a poet under study. In April, students will be joined by an established poet, including Academy Chancellor Kimiko Hahn and NAACP Image Award nominee Yesenia Montilla, for an in-class reading and discussion on what it means to live and work as a poet. 

The curriculum, which is being offered at no cost to participating schools, will engage approximately 180 students and will be adapted and shared with educators through Teach this Poem, the Academy’s award-winning educational newsletter which reaches 40,000 subscribing teachers and librarians on a weekly basis. Poetry in the Schools will also sponsor a professional development workshop for public high school teachers to take place in August 2024, before the start of the fall semester.

The Academy’s inaugural literary seminar features Pulitzer Prize winner and former Academy Chancellor Carl Phillips on Gwendolyn Brooks’s evolution as a writer, her mastery of English form, and her stylistic virtuosity. It meets April 16, April 26, and May 3, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. ET. Additional courses are: Harold Morton Translation Award Winner Stephanie McCarter on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with close readings of Ovid’s poetic technique, examining his perspectives on gender, sexuality, race, violence, identity, and art, which meets May 13, May 20, and May 27, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. ET; and celebrated translator Sophus Helle on the history and modern-day reception of the epic of Gilgamesh, which meets May 22, May, 29 and June 5, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. ET. Additional courses will be announced in the spring. 

Each live seminar will take place online and meet over a span of three weeks. Tuition is $150 for the general public. Academy members receive 20% off tuition through June 5. Scholarships are offered thanks to the generosity of Hawthornden Foundation. Learn more and register at

“As a national academy, we care deeply about who gets to learn in this country,” said Ricardo Maldonado, President & Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. “As we mark ninety years of service through poetry, we honor the cherished place the art form has had for millions of poets and readers, whether that means high schoolers who recently encountered their first poem in class, or adult learners seeking a network of poetry lovers to discuss a life-long favorite. We’re excited to continue bringing broad access to enriching education experiences, and are grateful for Hawthornden Foundation’s commitment to excellence as we work together to shape and sustain meaningful literary conversations across age groups and geographies.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Academy of American Poets in support of their new in-classroom education programs for New York City high school students, and their online programming for students of all ages,” said Hawthornden Foundation Executive Director Ellyn Toscano. “We believe the grant for the launch of this new programming will help to strengthen the field and bolster a thriving writing community.”

Generous funding for the Academy’s educational activities has also been provided by the Eve and Simon Colin Foundation.

More About the Academy’s Education Programs

In the 1960s, the Academy of American Poets launched the first Poets-in-the-School program in the nation in partnership with the newly established National Endowment for the Arts. Nationally-recognized poets like Ted Berrigan, Jay Wright, and former Academy Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Louise Glück met with high school students across the city, fulfilling Robert Frost’s invitation to Academy’s founder Marie Bullock to “get poetry into the high schools.” 

Wishing to expand poetry’s impact on the lives of poets and readers, the Academy founded National Poetry Month in 1996, which has since become the largest global literary celebration, and launched, the world’s first website to offer a collection of poems, biographies, and resources for teachers. In 2013, the Academy created Teach This Poem, a weekly series of lesson plans for K–12 teachers, which was awarded the 2018 Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation.

More About the Academy of American Poets

Celebrating its ninetieth anniversary in 2024, the Academy of American Poets is a leading publisher of contemporary poetry across the country. The organization annually awards $1.3+ million to more than two hundred poets at various stages of their careers through its prize program. It also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; established and organizes National Poetry Month each April; publishes the Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides free resources to educators; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition that promotes the value poets bring to our culture. To learn more about the Academy of American Poets, including its staff, its Board of Directors, and its Board of Chancellors, visit  

About Hawthornden Foundation

Hawthornden Foundation is a private charitable foundation supporting contemporary writers and the literary arts. Established by Drue Heinz, the noted philanthropist and patron of the arts, the Foundation is named after Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian, Scotland, where an international residential residency program provides month-long retreats for creative writers from all disciplines to work in peaceful surroundings. Hawthornden also supports a second residential program at Casa Ecco, on Lake Como in Italy, the site of “Conversazioni”, private conferences attended by many celebrated writers and others in the arts, and a retreat for invited authors to complete a literary work in progress. This year, Hawthornden Foundation will open a new non-residential retreat—Hawthornden Brooklyn—in New York. In addition, the Foundation sponsors the annual Hawthornden Prize, one of Britain’s oldest and foremost literary awards, and provides grant support to other literary programs