Since April 1996, National Poetry Month has been celebrated in the United States by people who want to spread a love of poetry to the masses. Many individuals may wonder, though, what is National Poetry Month and why do we need an entire month to commemorate this literary form. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English, so I think we should set aside time on a daily basis to appreciating the written word. But, you don’t have to be a student of literature to appreciate poetry.
The Academy of America Poets established National Poetry Month as a way to draw attention to this literary form, from its complex history and classic works to an appreciation of poets living today. Their goal was to broaden poetry’s range so that it would appeal to different types of people and to increase poetry’s visibility in popular culture. They intended to showcase the rich tapestry that connects poetry of the past to the present.
In order to accomplish this goal, the Academy worked with government agencies, educators, publishers, poets, and art’s organizations. By working together, they created a plan to create this month-long commemoration. The month of April was chosen after speaking with librarians, teachers and booksellers. They chose that month because February had Black History Month and March had Women’s History Month. They felt it was a natural progression to talk about poetry in the month of April.
The best aspect of this celebration is that everyone can commemorate it how they wish. This leaves everyone’s options open as to how they wish to commemorate National Poetry Month 2009. Individuals can visit the Academy of American Poets website to get ideas of what they can do to increase their appreciation of poetry.
Each year, the Academy creates a unique poster. The National Poetry Month 2009 poster is distributed to teachers, librarians, bookstores, and community centers. Individuals interested in purchasing a poster can check these places in their cities. People who want to become more intimately involved in poetry can go to poetry readings.
Local universities often have readings during the month of April. At the University of Arizona, they have readings all the time at The Poetry Center. Of course, everyone will have to look in their local universities. A fun way to appreciate poetry is to go to poetry slams at coffee houses and clubs. There, you get to hear local poets, both published and unpublished. If you feel like demonstrating your skills, participate in open-mic nights.
Even families can get into National Poetry Month. Parents can take this opportunity to expose their children to the works of Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats, Hughes and Dove. Check out poetry books from the local library or encourage your children to participate in the Poetry Read-A-Thon at their schools. Better yet, each family member could write original poems.
National Poetry Month was established to bring this literary form to the public. Everyone can appreciate poetry, even if you don’t consider yourself a literary aficionado. Poetry has a way of transcending time because each generation finds a new and wonderful way to interpret them. So, make National Poetry Month 2009 a part of your life, and you may decide to make this literary form a part of your life beyond the month of April.