Past Institutes

Teaching and Understanding Poetry

On October 6, 2015, Humanities Texas held a one-day workshop in Austin introducing strategies for teaching and understanding poetry that secondary-level language arts teachers can use with their students.


At the workshop, faculty and participants examined poems by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ted Kooser, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Kay Ryan, and Mary Oliver, among others. The program emphasized close interaction with scholars and writers and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities.

In their lectures and afternoon seminars, faculty placed special emphasis on teaching critical reading skills. Strategies and content aligned closely with the secondary-level English and language arts TEKS.


Workshop faculty included Betty Sue Flowers (The University of Texas at Austin), Naomi Shihab Nye (Academy of American Poets), Coleman Hutchison (The University of Texas at Austin), and Rosemary Catacalos, the 2013 Texas Poet Laureate.

Program Resources

Our October 2015 newsletter included a slideshow of images from the workshop. Our February/March 2016 e-newsletter featured excerpts from the faculty presentations.

Location and Schedule

The workshop overview details the program's schedule and participants.


The workshop was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

The distinguished writer Naomi Shihab Nye draws on her years of experience working as a poet-in-the-schools.

Using Langston Hughes's poem "I, Too" as a model text, Coleman Hutchison discusses close reading strategies with teachers during an afternoon seminar.