Core Values of #TeachLivingPoets

  1. We seek to get poetry into the hands of students.
  2. We seek to complicate the canon, to open the door wider of which poems are taught in the classroom.
  3. We seek to provide students with poetry that reflects their identities, backgrounds, and present circumstances.
  4. We seek to expose students to new ideas and to people who are different than them.
  5. We seek to uplift the voices of BIPOC poets, LBGTQ+ poets, and poets with disabilities.
  6. We seek to celebrate the arts in schools, especially poetry.
  7. We seek to empower students’ voices through reading and writing poetry.

Founder Melissa Smith

Melissa Alter Smith is a National Board Certified high school English teacher in Charlotte, NC. She is 2017 District Teacher of the Year, an AP Reader, & an NCETA Executive Board member. She has presented at NCTIES, WVELA, NCETA, NCTE-WLU Summer Institute, NCTE, AWP, and the AP Annual Conference, and has co-authored a book on teaching poetry (forthcoming in Nov 2020 with NCTE). Melissa is also a co-author of the Instructor’s Manual and AP Correlation Guide for the 13th high school edition of The Norton Introduction to Literature. A runner-up for NCTE and Penguin Random House’s Maya Angelou Teacher of Poetry Award, Melissa is also a contributing author for aplithelp.com and the NCTE Verse project. She is the creator of the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag and teachlivingpoets.com. She was the Keynote speaker at the NCETA 2019 spring symposium, featured on LitHub.com, in NEATE News, NCTE’s quarterly journal Council Chronicle, and on Education Talk Radio. Her work is focused on complicating the canon, supporting teachers, and empowering students through poetry. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MelAlterSmith.



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Adrian Nester, Karla Hilliard, Susan Barber, Melissa Smith, Sarah Soper, Jori Krulder





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