You know the famous names of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allen Poe, William Wordsworth. Langston Hughes, and of course, William Shakespeare. If you thought you were done with them in your high school English class, think again.
April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Although the famous works of poets should be celebrated and read year round, April is the designated month to read, recite and write poetry.
Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with publishers, libraries, schools, booksellers and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. After all, we wouldn’t have some of the most popular words or phrases today if those talented writers and poets before us hadn’t coined them.
Below is a list of how you can get in touch with your inner poet and enjoy the written word all month long. For more information about National Poetry Month, visit www.poets.org.
• Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.
• Sign up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.
• Memorize a poem.
• Create an anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.
• Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
• Attend a poetry reading at a local library, café, bookstore or university.
• 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.
• Deepen your daily experience by reading Edward Hirsch’s essay “How to Read a Poem.”
• Read about different poetic forms.
• Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 21. Select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it.
• Subscribe to American Poets magazine or a small press poetry journal.
• Read or listen to Mark Doty’s talk “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now.”
• Watch a poetry movie.
• Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.