Past Institutes

Teaching and Understanding Poetry

On December 6 and 7, 2016, Humanities Texas held one-day workshops in Houston and Dallas 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, W. H. Auden, and Wallace Stevens, 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), Rob Vaughan (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities), and Sarah Cortez.

Locations and schedules

The workshop overviews detail each program's schedule and participants.

HoustonDecember 6Bayou Bend Collection and GardensOverview
DallasDecember 7Dallas Institute of Humanities and CultureOverview


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

Naomi Shihab Nye, award-winning poet and former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, shares methods on teaching critical reading in Dallas.
Rob Vaughan, founding president of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, presents a lecture on “Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven Speaks to Astronomers” in Dallas.