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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, Poets.org 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 Poetry.org 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.
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.”
4. Brain Pickings
We’ve recommended the blog BrainPickings in our article about how to curate your way to a successful blog, 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.
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.
— Liisa Ladouceur (@LiisaLadouceur) April 1, 2014
6. 30 Ideas from Poets.org
Poets.org 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?
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.
What is it about April that stomps on the will to endure as if hooves cannot stand dandelions spiking their suns through the clod #TMMPoetry
— su (@su_layug) April 3, 2014
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 Poets.org or Poems.com 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, How To Use Social Media As Inspiration For Your Writing, and some tips for writers to find a peaceful state for your PC to inspire productivity.
Have any ideas to add to the list? Let us know about them in the comments.
Image Credit: DarrelBirkett