Idaho Teachers Invited to Attend Summer Institute on Poetry as Protest

Idaho teachers of all grades and disciplines are invited to apply to attend the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2020 weeklong summer institute, titled Poetry as Protest:  Dissent through Song and Literature, July 20-25 (Monday through Saturday), on the campus of Boise State University.  Successful applicants will receive lodging and meals, texts, and the opportunity for optional college credit. Community college teachers also are eligible to apply. The deadline for online applications is March 1, 2020For application instructions, go to the IHC website,

Teachers will receive institute texts, including How to Love a Country by Richard Blanco and Songs of America:  Patriotism, Protest, and the Music that Made a Nation by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw, and an electronic compilation of other pertinent primary and secondary readings.  In addition to attending daily lectures and discussions, teachers will attend special evening presentations, view films, and share ways of teaching this topic in the classroom.

In the book Songs of America:  Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation, Jon Meacham writes “Through all the years of strife, we’ve been shaped not only by our words and our deeds but by our music, by the lyrics and the instrumentals that have carried us through dark days and enabled us to celebrate bright ones.”   And, in his poem, “Mother Country,” Richard Blanco reminds us “to love a country as if you’ve lost one” and “it isn’t where you’re born that matters, it’s where you choose to die – that’s your country.”  This institute will explore poetry and song focusing on several themes and historical eras and will examine multiple minority voices and several genres, including protest music, rap, hip-hop, and slam poetry.

Participants will delve into the history of dissent and historical influences on contemporary authors.  Teachers will discuss ways to help students become engaged in the study and creation of poetry.  The week-long institute will include daily poetry readings, scholarly lectures offering historical content and context of poetry and song, workshops on creating and teaching poetry, and special evening presentations open to the public.

Scholar presenters so far include Richard Blanco, the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets, Carolyn González, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Chicanx Literatures at California State University, Monterey Bay, Janis Johnson, Assistant Professor of English, University of Idaho and IHC Board member, and Robert Santelli, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles.

Teachers traveling more than 250 miles one way may be eligible for a modest travel stipend upon request. The online application deadline is March 1, 2019.  For more information, visit, call the IHC office, (208) 345-5346, or contact Cindy Wang at

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