April is the month of poetry! Every year, the month is set aside to celebrate all things poetry.
National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. April was the month chosen because it was best suited to coordinate with those most interested in poetry, and it falls at a time thought to encourage poetry reading for the remainder of the year. Yes, spring is a chance for revival, and the beginning of new life, in this case, a renewal to poetry reading. The aim of poetry month is to encourage more poetry reading, highlight ongoing poetic achievement and bring overall attention and support to the readers and writers of the literary form. It is the largest celebratory literary event in the world. The event is US based, but anyone can get involved and shed a little light on some poems.
People celebrate the month by writing one poem each day, memorising a loved poem, or even by performing one! Personally, I have celebrated poetry month by finishing my poetry dissertation and gladly saying goodbye to that burden. However, I think much joy can come from reading and listening to poetry, and writing it too! YouTube is great for finding readings, but there are also radio programmes devoted to bringing new poetry to the foreground, and assessing poems of the past.
If you’re interested in poetry or want to know more, there’s plenty you can do. The easiest thing would be to follow accounts that interest you on Instagram or Twitter, and you can have a little read of a poem or what’s going on in the literary world as and when you please. These accounts are likely the most up to date on what’s new, who is spicing things up, and are ideal if you’re looking for recommended reading. Organisations like Poetry Wales offer webinars on the areas around poetry, as well as their own subscription service and monthly issues, while if you follow individual poets you’re more likely to get snippets of their work or of those they admire. It can be refreshing finding a small piece of writing on your feed rather than a forgotten friend’s selfie.
Writing poetry does not have to be for public viewing. It can be a personal thing that you do for you. It’s great for helping you express yourself, and the best thing is, you can rip up paper if you want! And if you do want to share what you create, you can do this on social media, you can submit your work to magazines, or you can find places you can read to others.
National Poetry Day is a separate, UK thing. It is due this year on October 7th, and the theme is Choice. If right now, poetry is not on your radar and you’re not up for celebrating a whole month of poetry, maybe you can look out for some poetry appreciation then, and on a smaller scale. For now though, enjoy reading what you can, when you can!