Pull out your favorite poems because April is National Poetry Month. It’s time to celebrate.
National Poetry Month first began in 1996, led by the Academy of American Poets. This month-long celebration was created “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 ranges and concern.” So the goal of National Poetry Month is to introduce poetry to more people — and keep it on the minds of those who are already poetry partisans.
How do you celebrate? Here are few ideas from the Academy of American Poets:
Attend a poetry reading
Put a poem on the pavement (with sidewalk chalk)
Watch a poetry movie
Take a poem out to lunch
Read a book of poetry
The library can help you with that last two suggestions — with books by T.S. Eliot, Robert Hayden, Langston Hughes, and more (plus pocket-sized pages for any poem you like). You can also check the Literature & Literary Criticism subject guide to find scholarly articles and full text resources about poetry, follow the PBS program Poetry Everywhere, or come by and visit our poetry display on the first floor of the library. Discover resources on how to read, write, and enjoy poetry.
Last but not least, how about some actual poetry? Here is a poem from Natasha Trethewey, the current U.S. Poet Laureate.
What’s left is footage: the hours before
parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
fronds blown back,
a woman’s hair. Then after:
the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore, a swamp
where graves had been. I recall
how we huddled all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.
The next day, our house—
on its cinderblocks—seemed to float
in the flooded yard: no foundation
beneath us, nothing I could see
tying us to the land.
In the water, our reflection
when I bent to touch it.