National Poetry Month is almost here! Created by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been held each and every April since 1996. It is a month-long celebration of all kinds of poetry, whether it be written, spoken, slammed, or even sung. Publishers, libraries, schools, universities, writing groups, and others come together to share and express themselves through poetry. It is a time to rejoice in our country’s poetic heritage, which includes poets such as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Sylvia Plath. It serves as an opportunity to increase Americans’ awareness of this heritage as well as their knowledge of poetry crafted today.
What are ten ways that you can get involved with National Poetry Month? Below is an excerpt from “30 Ways to Celebrate,” a list made by the Academy of American Poets. The full list can be found here.
- Take a poem out to lunch or put a poem in your lunchbox
- Get out the sidewalk chalk and commit a poem to pavement
- Leave a copy of a poem in an unexpected place
- Write a letter to a poet
- Watch a poetry-related movie
- Visit a poetry landmark
- Listen to poetry on your commute
- Attend a poetry reading
- Buy a book of poems for your local library
- Subscribe to a literary magazine
Another way to celebrate and prepare for National Poetry Month is to read George Ella Lyon’s Many-Storied House: Poems (University Press of Kentucky, 2013). If the walls of Lyon’s childhood home could talk, they would tell stories of her brother waking everyone in the middle of the night by playing the trumpet, describe the various contents of the junk drawer, and reveal Lyon’s intimate discussions with her mother. Since walls cannot speak, Lyon speaks for them, writing about such memories in a collection of poetry centered on the love and hardships shared by a family.
So think about how you will enrich your life and the lives of others through poetry, and consider using poet George Ella Lyon’s words to do so. You only have five days left before April arrives—get ready!