April showers bring May flowers, surely something joyous and uplifting to celebrate. The month of April also offers another delight: National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world. Coast to coast, millions of poetry lovers: students, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, bloggers, writers, aspiring authors, and poets take part in events aimed at marking the importance of poetry in American culture and our everyday lives. What a gift!
Now that spring really seems to have arrived, why not make a joyful noise to welcome it and read poetry? I’m happy to say that every month is poetry month for my fabulous Poetry Appreciation Group, which meets at our local library under the wing of Montclair’s wonderful Write Group. Still, it seems fitting that April, the birth month of William Wordsworth, Maya Angelou, George Herbert, Walter de la Mare, and William Shakespeare, among others, is given extra special attention.
Inspired by successful celebrations of February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month, the Academy of American Poets founded National Poetry Month in April of 1996 with several goals in mind:
To highlight the legacy and achievements of American poets;
To encourage the reading of poems as a cherished art form;
To help teachers bring poetry into their classrooms; and
To encourage support for poets and poetry publication.
You can help celebrate National Poetry Month by writing your own poetry, reading a poem each day, purchasing a book of poetry at your favorite indie bookstore, attending a poetry reading at a café or library, reading a poem of your own at an open mic event, or signing up for a poetry class or workshop. For poems to inspire and delight you, and more information on the Academy of American Poets and National Poetry Month, visit: poets.org. And write on!
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