Celebrate National Poetry Month in April
Purpose of National Poetry Month
Today marks the beginning of celebrations for National Poetry Month. As poets, this is the month meant for us. It is our time to showcase our work, to bring awareness to the art of poetry, and to foster poetic creativity in students. We are to use this month for inspiration, in hopes of writing influential and memorable poetry and motivating other writers.
There are many events and celebrations happening throughout April. The best way to follow what is happening around the United States is to use #npm17. Other ideas for activities can be found on the Academy of American Poets website at: https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/30-ways-celebrate-national-poetry-month.
Poets are Everywhere
History of National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month was founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. It was inspired by the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March). In 1998, the Academy of American Poets and the American Poetry & Literacy Project joined together to distribute 100,000 free poetry books from New York to California during April. On April 22nd of the same year, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton hosted a gala event featuring Poets Laureate Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.
The events for National Poetry Month increased even more by the 2001 celebration. During that year, people were invited by the Academy of American Poets to vote for their favorite poet, one that they would want on a postage stamp. The total amount of votes was more than 10,000 with Langston Hughes cast as the winner. In January 2002, the declared winner was sent to the United States Postal Service and a new stamp with Hughes was made. To mark the event’s 10th anniversary, the Empire State Building was lit in blue.
By the mid-2000’s, specifically 2006, the Academy of American Poets launched the program Poem-A-Day, where they publish one poem per day on its website, www.poets.org. This cherished event is now year-long.
In 2012, a new project called Dear Poet was launched. This project invited students to read and write poems for the celebration. Today, some poems are selected to be on Poets.org.
Finally, each year 150,000 specially commissioned posters are handed out for free to pass on to students, teachers, libraries, and community centers. To receive this year’s copy, designed by award-winning author and illustrator Maira Kalman, go to the Academy of American Poets website at: https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/form/poster-request-form.
Facebook Celebration of National Poetry Month
Escaping the Vault, a Facebook page dedicated to bringing awareness of mental illness, is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering a contest. The contest involves writing a poem or short story each day that is inspired by a writing prompt. The winner will receive a $10 gift certificate for Amazon. Escaping the Vault can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/EscapingTheVault/.
Join me for National Poetry Month
Celebrate Poetry with Me
For my own celebration, I will be writing a haiku-a-day with an explanation and interpretation of the poem. I invite all of you to join this creative event by posting your own haikus. To learn how to write haikus, visit Kate M S’s Hub page at: https://hubpages.com/literature/How-To-Write-a-Haiku-For-Dummies.