April is National Poetry Month in the United States, an entire month dedicated to celebrating poets and their specialty every year. Ever since it was first introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been dedicated to raising awareness about poetry all around the country. Other main objectives of National Poetry Month, which can be found on Poetry.org, are “to introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry, to make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum, to highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets, and to bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways.” It is also meant “to increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry, to draw attention paid to poetry by national and local media, and to encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books.”
This April is especially important because it is the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. During these past two decades, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration not only in the United States, but in the entire world. Numerous schools, publishers, libraries, bookstores, and poets all join together to celebrate and appreciate the significant impact poetry has on our culture by participating at events put together by the Academy of American Poets and other noteworthy poetry organizations. Anyone can participate in the festivities held in honor of National Poetry Month either by attending these events, using online resources, or finding specific activities to do involving poetry on their own time. Here are few activities that you could take part in to make the most of National Poetry Month.
- Create an anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.
- Sign up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.
- Memorize a poem.
- Recite a favorite poem for an audience, such as your family or class.
- Listen to an influential poet reading his or her own poetry.
- Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.
- Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
- Attend a poetry reading at a local university, bookstore, cafe, or library.
- Read a poem at an open mic.
- Learn about different poetic forms.
- Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 21. You can download an audio clip of a poem onto your MP3 player or cell phone as an audio version of carrying a poem in your pocket.
- Subscribe to a major poetry magazine or a small press poetry journal.
- Watch a poetry movie.
- Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.
- Read a review of a poetry collection.
- Find a photograph or other image that directly or indirectly illustrates a poem you are reading. Post the image and poem together for others to look at and react to.
As you can see, whether it’s through reading the poetry of others, sharing your own poetry, or spreading the joy of poetry to others around you, there’s no shortage of great ideas you can come up with to do for National Poetry Month.
About the Author: Sherah, 17, has been homeschooled for three years. “I am passionate about raising awareness about topics such as current events and culture and being able to effectively deliver a message that matters to me. I also enjoy researching and writing in hopes of educating, informing, and inspiring others.”