National Poetry Month

April 25, 2021 – Alli Boyer, Adult Services

Many of you may already know this, but April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! April 2021 is also a special year, as it is the 25th anniversary of celebrating poets and poetry on the national level. National Poetry Month was founded in 1966 by the Academy of American Poets with the purpose of highlighting the integral role poetry plays in our culture and in telling stories about the mixing pot of cultures found in America.

Poets.org provides together SEVERAL ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, both at home and at school.  Some of my favorites include:

• Read 2020’s most-read poem by a contemporary poet, Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”
Make a poetry playlist.
Check out a book of poetry from your local library.
Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on Twitter and Instagram!
Invite your students to email letters to award-winning poets as part of this year’s Dear Poet project.
Talk to your school librarian about creating a reading list of poetry books.
Organize a virtual reading of your students reading original or favorite poems out loud.
Have your students illustrate poems and hang them around their homes.

It would be hard to let this April pass without celebrating the amazing talent of Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet and activist who blew us away with her Inauguration Poem, “The Hill We Climb.”  

There are many different forms of poetry; I’m pretty partial to a limerick or a haiku. Speaking of, also in April – on April 17, to be exact – we celebrated International Haiku Poetry Day! A haiku consists of only three lines, with 17 total syllables in the entire poem. The first line contains 5 syllables, the second line contains 7 syllables, and the third and final line contains 5 syllables. The nerd in me loves to reference this short story from Nickelodeon’s Avatar the Last AirBender, in which Sokka participates in a Haiku Battle.

If you’re looking for more about haikus and poetry in general, our collection has SO SO many resources for you. Here are some of my favorites:

The Four Seasons: Japanese Haiku 
Morning Mist: Through the Seasons with Matsuo Basho and Henry David Thoreau – Mary E. Kullberg
Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins
We Want Our Bodies Back: Poems by Jessica Care Moore
Deaf Republic: Poems by Illya Kaminsky
I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World by Kai Cheng Thom
Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith
Witch Wife: Poems by Kiki Petrosino
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Recited, Sung and Shouted (CD) by Shel Silverstein
The Magic World: American Indian Songs and Poems by William Brandon
The Viking Book of Poetry of the English-Speaking World by Richard Aldington
Storyteller by Leslie Marmon Silko 

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