April isn’t usually considered a very special month. It’s not like December, which is chock-full of holidays, or even like May or July with their barbecue holidays. Yet April is a very literary month, hosting both National Poetry Month and the Script Frenzy writing challenge. Today, we’ll discuss National Poetry Month.
National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. According to the FAQ page on the AAP’s NPM site, the mission of National Poetry Month is to make poetry – and those who write it – more visible.
The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.
There are many ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, and the AAP has even started you off with a small list of possibilities. Here are a few suggestions from Glass Tower Press.
- Read your favorite book of poetry. If you don’t have a favorite, try something new. I would suggest my own favorite book of poetry, Dread by Ai.
- If you are financially able, donate a book of poetry to your local library or school system. Library systems face cuts all the time, especially in this economy, so the donation of a single tome means another book to fill your favorite library’s shelves.
- Learn more about your local literary community. Most regions have literary communities, though they could be difficult to find. Toledo has the Northwest Ohio Writers Forum, PRIZM, the regional branch of Romance Writers of America, and much more.
- Attend a literary event – regardless of whether or not it’s related to National Poetry Month. Many organizations host literary events, including universities and libraries, so check your local paper or library events page to find out what’s going on in April for you to attend.
- Support your literary community: attend events, readings, or signings hosted by local groups. You don’t even have to spend any money: many literary groups hold free public events. Of course, any financial support is appreciated, so if possible, try to purchase a book or make a small donation. Even a tiny bit helps!
No matter what way you celebrate National Poetry Month, don’t keep it to yourself! Bring a friend with you to an event, pass along your book to a family member, or read a poem out loud to your kids. Poetry is made to be shared, and National Poetry Month is the perfect time to share it.
– Feliza Casano is the editor in chief of Glass Tower Press.