Five Great Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Have you been wondering how you’re going to take part in what the Academy of American Poets calls “the largest literary celebration in the world?” National Poetry Month begins April 1, and we’ve got you covered with five great ways to celebrate. Pick one for the month or try a new activity each week. Even if you’ve never written a poem in your life, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for this evocative art form. Already an enthusiastic lover of poetry? Then try one of these 30 suggestions from the Academy – one of them is sure to suit.

1. New to Poetry? Let America tell you what to read!

During his tenure as Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky asked Americans to tell him about the poems that were most meaningful to them with the Favorite Poem Project. In these three anthologies, each poem is accompanied by the passionate and personal testimonials of poetry lovers from all ages and walks of life. Anthology selections include American's Favorite Poems, Poems to Read, and An Invitation to Poetry.

2. Read a winner from the National Book Awards for Poetry. 

Each year five acclaimed poets/judges select one book of poetry by a U.S. citizen to receive the prestigious National Book Award for Poetry. The winners of the last two years include Robin Coste Lewis's The Voyage of the Sable Venus and  Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night.

3. Try a story in verse.

The name says it all – this narrative art form tells a novel-length story with poetry instead of prose. While many  titles in this genre are written for teens or children, adults will also enjoy these moving tales. Well-known favorites include Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

4. Read a novel about a poet.

You’ve tried reading poetry before, and it just isn’t your thing? Consider immersing yourself in a novel about a poet instead. These award-winning fictional takes on the lives of poets will keep you captivated. Doctor Zhivago was nominated for a Nobel Prize, but the author turned it down for political reasons. Possession: A Romance won England’s Booker Prize.

5. Join The Diane Rehm Show’s celebration of National Poetry Month on April 19.

Diane Rehm celebrates National Poetry Month every year. This year she and her guests will use the book How To Read A Poem: And Fall In Love With Poetry as a guide while discussing their favorite poems. Since listeners are invited to share their own favorite poems, you’ll want to do your prep work in advance.

-Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library 

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