10 Ways To Celebrate National Poetry Month

Nancy Messieh 08-04-2014

April is National Poetry Month in the US, but online, just about anyone can participate in the festivities of the month. Whether it’s through reading the poetry of others, sharing your own poetry, or spreading the joy to others around you, there’s no shortage of great ideas from the likes of the New York Times, NPR, and more.


Before we get started with the list, you might want to know a little bit more about National Poetry Month. Started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry month aims to raise awareness about poetry. The goals of National Poetry Month, as outlined by are to:

  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry

Curious about why the month of April was chosen? While there is no definite answer, this article by David C. Ward, a Smithsonian historian, has an interesting theory.

Now, without further ado, here are ten ways you can get in on the April action of the National Poetry Month.

1. New York Times

The New York Times has a full page of ideas to celebrate National Poetry Month with the daily newspaper. While the page was originally published in 2010, it has been continuously updated, and 2014 is no exception. The list includes a Tumblr blog where you can read and submit Haikus to the Times, a competition for students to participate in (the deadline is April 29th), and much more.



2. Poem in your Pocket Day

Want to take the experience offline? April 24th is Poem in Your Pocket Day. All you have to do is choose a poem, and carry it with you throughout the day. You can then share it with others as the day progresses. And if you want to, you can also share it on Twitter using the hashtag, #PocketPoem. Also be sure to check out your local bookstore or library to see if they are having any special Poem in Your Pocket Day events.

3. TED

Another great way to celebrate National Poetry Month is to listen to poets and writers speak about the craft. There’s probably no better place to do this than on TED. A great selection of videos about poetry is available on the TED site right now. Quite a few of these videos are actually poets reciting their own work, so to get you in the poetry mood, we’d recommend listening to Sarah Kay’s “If I should have a daughter.”

If you’re looking for more spoken word videos, be sure to check out Joel’s article, “5 Powerful Spoken Word Videos That Will Touch Your Soul 5 Powerful Spoken Word Videos That Will Touch Your Soul Spoken word in particular is one of the most powerful forms of poetry today and these videos provide more than enough evidence of that. Whether you like poetry or not, prepare to be blown away. Read More .”

4. Brain Pickings

We’ve recommended the blog BrainPickings in our article about how to curate your way to a successful blog How To Create a Successful Curated Blog Content curation is, in a nutshell, picking and choosing content from around the Web, and sharing it with your followers. Running a curated blog is not just about finding interesting content to share. It requires... Read More , and it’s no surprise that the blog is a great source for some great curated poetry. Just head directly the to BrainPicking’s poetry page for all things tagged poetry on the blog. You’ll find everything from a John Donne poem read by Richard Burton to interviews with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, and then some.



5. Twitter

National Poetry Month is already in full swing on Twitter. Just checkout the hashtag, #NationalPoetryMonth and you’ll see thousands of tweets have already been shared in the past week. You’ll find tweeps sharing their own poetry, poetry they’ve enjoyed reading, National Poetry Month events, and more.

6. 30 Ideas from has a list of 30 ideas that will keep you busy for the 30 days of National Poetry Month, and with us already a few days into National Poetry Month, if you haven’t already started, you’ll have some catching up to do. You can memorize a poem, organize a poetry reading, put a poem on a pavement, and more. 



7. Poetry Quiz

If you have some time to kill, why not take the Christian Science Monitor’s poetry quiz. The quiz consists of poetry excerpts that you have to match with its writer. From the classics to the beat poets to the modern, there are over 50 questions that will keep you busy for a good while. Can you get them all right?


8. NPR

NPR’s Tell Me More has its share of poetry festivities this month. They’ll be featuring Twitter poems throughout April, and to get your “poem-tweet” featured on NPR all you have to do is use the hashtag #TMMPoetry to get in on it. A few highlights from the first week are already posted on the page.

9. Read a Poem a Day

What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than to read a poem a day. There are a ton of resources that offer up one poem a day in a convenient format. No matter what your taste, you’re likely to find something that you’ll like. Try or for your poem a day fix. There’s also the aptly named Tumblr, A Poem a Day that is definitely worth checking out.



10. Write a Poem a Day

The only thing better than reading a poem a day is writing a poem a day. Now, while this might be a tall order, we have some ideas for you on where you can find some inspiration. Check out our list of 5 Clever But Simple Ways To Find Inspiring Writing Prompts Online 5 Clever But Simple Ways To Find Inspiring Writing Prompts Online There is nothing more frustrating for a writer than staring at a blank screen. Luckily, all it takes is logging on to the Internet where you can find an endless source of inspiration. Read More How To Use Social Media As Inspiration For Your Writing How To Use Social Media As Inspiration For Your Writing We blog. We post. We upload. We share. We like. We Tweet. Using social media, we all write our own individualized own history books. Every relationship, every kiss, every romantic thing we hear - we... Read More , and some tips for writers to find a peaceful state for your PC to inspire productivity Zen for Writers: Finding a Calm, Peaceful State For Your PC That Would Inspire Productivity Writing is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It's lonely and you have to focus and think at the same time. Our brain, however, is constantly looking for new stimuli. It loves nothing... Read More .

Have any ideas to add to the list? Let us know about them in the comments.

Image Credit: DarrelBirkett

Related topics: Digital Art, Reading, Writing Tips.

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  1. Guy M
    April 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    MakeUseOf dot Com
    Technology meeting art
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