What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Black Poetry Day is celebrated.
|Grades||1 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Holiday & School Celebration|
On this day, Jupiter Hammon, the first African American to publish poetry in the United States, was born in Long Island, New York, in 1711. In honor of Hammon's birth, we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans to the world of poetry.
Traditionally, Black Poetry Day is celebrated with a poetry reading that focuses on the works of African American poets.
To celebrate the day in your classroom, gather books and bookmark webpages that focus on the works of African American poets (see the Websites listed below). Introduce the project by explaining the significance of the day. Then invite students to explore the available resources and ask each to choose a poem that he or she will contribute to the poetry reading. Ask students to share their poems and the reasons for their selections. On the day of the official poetry reading, invite students to stand and read their poetry selections aloud. If desired, students can copy the poems and collect them for a class anthology that commemorates the event.
- A Brief Guide to the Harlem Renaissance
This essay from the Academy of American Poets features poets of the Harlem Renaissance, with links to additional information and samples of their work.
- Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806?)
This webpage from Perspectives in American Literature-A Research and Reference Guide provides a biography, a bibliography, and a sample poem by Hammon, the first African American to publish poetry in the U.S.
- AfroPoets.net-Famous Black Writers
This site includes biographical information for dozens of African American poets. Also included are links to each poet's work.
- Poet Heroes
This section of the My Hero website offers information about a number of multicultural poets, including several important classical and contemporary African American poets.
Grades 1 – 12 | Calendar Activity |  June 7
Using the poem "My First Memory (of Librarians)," students connect memory, their senses, and the language of poetry.
Grades K – 12 | Calendar Activity |  October 3
Students investigate the website of a past Poet Laureate's project and use it as a model to celebrate poetry that appeals most to them.
Grades K – 12 | Calendar Activity |  February 1
Students come together with family and friends to take part in a read-in of books by African American authors and report their results.
Grades 7 – 12 | Calendar Activity |  February 1
Students examine the poem "Dreams" and identify metaphors in each sentence. Groups of students then compose poems with metaphors for dreams.
Grades 7 – 12 | Calendar Activity |  April 4
After hearing Maya Angelou's poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," students infer information about the speaker and her feelings about America and reflect on how one's life and experiences can influence one's writing.