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Celebrate National Poetry Month

Read, Write and Enjoy Poetry This Month!

April marks the 7th anniversary of National Poetry Month, the largest, most democratic celebration of the arts in America. Since its inception, response to National Poetry Month has grown exponentially, with an estimated audience that now reaches into the tens of millions.

Founded by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops and other events.

The Academy's goals for National Poetry month are modest: to highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets; to introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry; to bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways; to make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum; to increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media; to encourage increased publication, distribution and sales of poetry books; and to increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry.

This year, National Poetry Month will bring special attention to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Langston Hughes, featuring Hughes on the National Poetry Month poster. To honor the beloved poet, the Academy has declared April 2nd "Langston Hughes Poetry Day." On this day, millions of men, women and children across the country will participate in the world's largest poetry reading group as they gather together to read and discuss the poetry of Langston Hughes.

If you aren't fortunate enough to be invited to one of these soirees, don't despair. Go visit your local library or bookstore and pick up one of the poet's books to read -- either in the privacy of your own home, or at one of the many spoken word open mics in the Bay Area.

Here are some other ways to celebrate National Poetry Month:

  1. Find a new favorite poem.
  2. Write a poem ... it's not as hard as you think!
  3. Volunteer to read poetry at a public school.
  4. Read poetry with your kids ... Shel Silverstein is a great start!
  5. Pick up a copy of Poetry Flash and read up on American poetics.
  6. Introduce a little poetry into your workplace.
  7. Support a needy poetics charity with a cash donation.
  8. Read romantic poetry to your spouse or lover.
  9. Buy at least one book of poetry from your local independent bookseller.

If nothing else, scour our bimonthly calendar for a poetry event (or two) that appeals to you. We'll be listing events for the second half of April on the 16th.