Poetry as Pedagogy: An Educator Workshop Series

A view of the Hudson River taken from the Christopher Street Pier.
Photo by Sylvia Gorelick

Poetry as Pedagogy: An Educator Workshop Series 

How can poetry help us teach history and empower students to use their voices? 

Although poetry is often seen as a difficult artform gatekept by a chosen few, poetry is for everyone, as many activist poets have demonstrated. Audre Lorde affirms that “poetry is not a luxury,” but rather an essential form of human expression, and a resource for all of us. 

Inspired by the Museum’s ongoing exhibition Activist New York, this series will explore how the poetic art form connects us to vital activist traditions, including the movement for Black lives, women's rights struggles, and Nuyorican culture and resistance.

Designed for educators of students in grades 6-12 but open to all, the series will help to “demystify” poetry, framing poetry as a way of teaching history and social studies and as an entry point to New York City cultural and social movements. These workshops will focus on poetry as both a mode of education and a form of activism. Throughout the workshop series, we will root the idea of poetics in its Greek root 'poiesis', meaning to create, showing how poetry and creation are important parts of what it means to be alive. 

All are welcome! While this workshop series is geared toward educators of grades 6-12, it is open to all - educators and non-educators. Attendance at all three workshops is not required. Everyone is welcome to participate in any individual workshop. 

Each workshop will include:

  •  A visit to one or more exhibitions, grounding our poetry engagement within the Museum’s collections and current projects 
  • An introduction to two or more poets with strong connections to New York City and its history
  • Close reading of selected poems
  • Discussion of poetry as central to social and cultural understandings of the city 
  • Group discussion relating the work we read to the history of New York City activism 
  • A poetry writing exercise inspired by the poets we read 
  • Ideas for curriculum connections and lesson planning

2.5 CTLE hours for eligible participants per workshop


See event pages to register and learn more.

About the Facilitator:

Sylvia Gorelick (she/they) is a poet, translator, and PhD candidate at NYU. Sylvia has been an active participant in New York poetry worlds for over 15 years. Her research focuses on revolutionary feminisms in a transnational context and includes a focus on poetry of the city.

Questions? Email pd@mcny.org 


Education programs in conjunction with Activist New York are made possible by The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center is endowed by grants from The Thompson Family Foundation Fund, the F.A.O. Schwarz Family Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment, and other generous donors.

Join MCNY!

Want free or discounted tickets, special event invites, and more?