Past Institutes

Teaching and Understanding Poetry

On November 8, 2018, Humanities Texas held a one-day workshop in El Paso on strategies for teaching poetry that secondary-level language arts teachers can use with their students.


At the workshop, faculty and participants examined poems by William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Pat Mora, Gwendolyn Brooks, and José Antonio Rodríguez, among others. The program emphasized close interaction with scholars and writers and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities.

The workshop also introduced teachers to the Close Reading Interpretive Tool, a web-based application developed at The University of Texas at Austin that walks students through a systematic process of interpretation. All strategies and and content presented at the workshop aligned with the secondary-level English and language arts TEKS.


Workshop faculty included Adriane Bezusko (Texas Christian University), Emmy Pérez (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), and Joseph M. Ortiz and Brian Yothers of The University of Texas at El Paso.

Location and schedule

The workshop took place on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso. Download the workshop schedule.


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

Joseph M. Ortiz, associate professor of English at The University of Texas at El Paso, lectures on teaching Shakespeare’s sonnets in El Paso.
Adriane Bezusko, lecturer of English at Texas Christian University, provides strategies and tools for teaching critical reading skills.