10 Steps to Planning a Successful Poet Visit

I’m no booking agent, but I have individually planned poet visits to my school, so maybe telling you about my process will help you to give it a whirl as well. And I sincerely hope that you do because it is a remarkably inspiring experience your students will remember for a long time.

I remember reading an edu-blog a couple of years ago about bringing visiting writers into the classroom, and one of the author’s rules was “Do not attempt to plan an author visit by yourself.” I took this as a personal challenge and have since planned classroom visits with poets including José Olivarez, Kate Partridge & LA Johnson (they came together), and RA Villanueva & Kaveh Akbar (also together) by myself. José came for a half day; Kate & Liz came for a Creative Writing class. Ron and Kaveh spent an entire day at my school, and I will focus on this most intensive event, as it required the most planning and preparation.

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Name Poem


Family names, nicknames, going by your middle name, common names, cherished names, meaning of names, unique names–these were all up for consideration as students drafted a poem about their name.


Students wrote their full legal name at the top of a blank sheet of paper and spent a couple minutes making a list of all the names they are called or call themselves, including nicknames, terms of endearment (or other terms), mispronunciations (if applicable), and any information they may possibly know about why their name was chosen for them. Thank you to José Olivarez and The YCA The Lesson for inspiring this prompt and the pre-write!  Continue reading