Poetry Inside Out

Poetry Inside Out educates, enlightens, and builds literacy and critical thinking skills through a poetry- and translation-based language arts curriculum that has brought world literature to thousands of students and teachers since 2000. Poetry Inside Out is dedicated to the idea that all students can become literate in the fullest sense of the word, with the knowledge that reading is for understanding and writing is for sharing ideas.

Students study poems by world-class poets in the language in which they were written—Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and many others—and learn the process of literary translation. They then use those translated poems as inspiration and resource for writing their own poems.

As they hunt through the dictionary, engage in spirited debate about word choices, and create their own diverse, playful, and deeply felt poems, students gain an appreciation for the complexities of language and culture, and build the 21st century learning skills—creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration—needed for success in their academic careers and beyond.

Poetry Inside Out workshops are offered as teaching artist-led residencies or as professional development for classroom teachers. In both, students progress from learning basic literary translation skills to mastering poetic structure, form, and figurative language and revising, editing, and performing their work. Poetry Inside Out helps students see themselves in a new light, to think of themselves as learners and writers.

Help Keep Poetry Inside Out Strong!

Poetry Inside Out relies in large part on charitable donations to help spur the imaginations of children all over the United States. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.


The Residency Program has 20 certified instructors in the Bay Area. Over the past decade we have taught more than 7,000 elementary through high school students; in 2012-13 alone, we will work with over 1,000 students in Oakland and San Francisco.

Poetry Inside Out Professional Development is being implemented in San Francisco, New York, San Diego, and Boston, with more sites planned. We’ve been selected by San Jose Unified School District to develop a curriculum for students enrolled in the district’s two-way bilingual program.