10 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Trouble With PoetryAh, poetry. The beautiful, less popular older sister of prose. April is National Poetry Month, which means it’s time to give poetry all the attention it deserves. There’s something about the raw, condensed language of a poem that makes us feel connected on a whole different level. As American poet Paul Engle says, “Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” Poetry is powerful, poetry is peculiar, and poetry is alive and well in your local community.

Here are some ways you can join in the National Poetry Month celebrations:
  1. Discover a new form of poetry that you’ve never heard of. Try a Ghazal, a Sestina, or aVillanelle.
  2. Make a book spine poem. Stack your books thoughtfully so the titles form the lines of a poem. Make sure to send us photos!
  3. Try your hand at blackout poetry. Take a sheet of text (from an old magazine, the back of a cereal box, an elaborate grocery list, a photocopied a page of your favourite book, or a printed page from a blog) and use a marker to cross out words until the remaining words form a poem.
  4. Download one of these excellent poetry apps. For example, Poetry Creator lets you mash up classic poems, Quotes contains thousands of poetic quotes for all occasions, and POETRY gives you on-the-go access to thousands of classic and contemporary poems. All are free.
  5. Come to the library and browse our excellent poetry collections and novels in verse.
  6. Read some poems about poetry. Try Billy Collins, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, andTess Gallagher.
  7. Sign up for Poem-A-Day emails from the Academy of American Poets.
  8. Go for a walk. Write a poem while you’re out.
  9. Read a rhyming picture book to your kids…or to yourself.
  10. Celebrate Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day on April 30th by carrying around a poem in your pocket. Find a poem on a topic that interests you using Poets.org. Print out the poem or write it by hand. Read the poem multiple times throughout the day when you have a spare moment – let it sink in. Share the poem with someone. Tack it to your wall. Think about the language in the poem, and think about the way you use language.
Whatever you do this month, I hope you learn something and I hope you enjoy it. Happy National Poetry Month!

Originally written for and published in the Kitchener Public Library’s Etc. Newsletter.

Check out my other poetry-themed posts for more inspiration:

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