In my view, EVERY month is poetry month. I often begin my writing time selecting a poem or two to read, and it’s the form I turn to in times of confusion, worry, and grief.
Whenever I experiment with writing in that genre, I’m forced to think in metaphor, to use strong verbs, and to include descriptions that take me to the heart of what I’m trying to say. Rarely do I produce poems I think are worth sharing, but I know that my attempts strengthen my prose.
Since 1996, Americans have been recognizing National Poetry Month all through April. The designation was created by the Academy of American Poets to highlight the legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets. Even though we’re halfway through the month, there’s still plenty of time to celebrate. Here are some ideas from the Academy of American Poets.
- Request a free copy of the National Poetry Month poster until mid-April; posters can be purchased for $5.00 each in our Poets shop thereafter (while supplies list).
- Sign up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.
- Sign up for Teach This Poem, a weekly series for teachers.
- Memorize a poem.
- Create an anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.
- Encourage a young person to participate in the Dear Poet project
- Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.
- Review these concrete examples of how poetry matters in the United States today.
- Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
- Ask your governor or mayor for a proclamation in support of National Poetry Month.
- Attend a poetry reading at a local university, bookstore, cafe, or library.
- Read a poem at an open mic. It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local poetry writing community.
- Start a poetry reading group.
- Write an exquisite corpse poem with friends.
- Chalk a poem on the sidewalk.
- Deepen your daily experience by reading Edward Hirsch’s essay “How to Read a Poem.”
- Ask the United States Post Office to issue more stamps celebrating poets.
- Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day today! The idea is simple: select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it with coworkers, family, and friends.
- Read about different poetic forms.
- Read about poems titled “poem.”
- Watch a poetry movie.
- Subscribe to American Poets magazine or a small press poetry journal.
- Watch Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ P.O.P (Poets on Poetry) video.
- Watch Carolyn Forche’s talk “Not Persuasion, But Transport: The Poetry of Witness.” (see below)
- Recreate a poet’s favorite food or drink by following his or her recipe.
- Read or listen to Mark Doty’s talk “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now.”
- Read Allen Ginsberg’s classic essay about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
- Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.
- Get ready for Mother’s Day by making a card featuring a line of poetry.
- Read the first chapter of Muriel Rukeyser’s inspiring book The Life of Poetry.
Apologies for offering this list so late into the month. Feel free to keep celebrating into May – and all year.