April is National Poetry Month in the United States. Now, as funny as this may sound coming from a poet, I don’t always remember when National Poetry Month rolls around. For me, a good “poetry month” or a “poetry moon” is a particularly productive month in which I actually write more than a handful of fresh chicken scratch.
One of the reasons I might have a little trouble remembering National Poetry Month each April is because it is a relatively new celebration. National Poetry Month was first officially celebrated in 1996, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.
According to Poets.org of the Academy of American Poets,
“National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets as a month-long, national celebration of poetry. The concept was to increase the attention paid-by individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines. In the end, we hoped to achieve an increase in the visibility, presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture.”
If you want to celebrate National Poetry Month, but aren’t sure where to begin, check out the Academy of American Poets Online. At their website you can check out their “30 Ways to Celebrate” National Poetry Month, their “National Poetry Map” with events and locations across the nation, and enjoy essays and articles to learn about poets, writers, and much more.
With the spirit of poetic celebration in mind, I would like to share a few poems, poets, and poetic tidbits that I enjoy. Today we will start with poetry in our neighborhoods. What poetry, poets, or poetic events are making noise where you live?
My home city of Seattle is a great patron of the arts, and poets are welcome on the rainy streets all around the region. This year the Seattle Times is running a segment in their Arts and Entertainment section: “Poetry Month – When words take wing,” and offers information on local poetry events for the entire month.
Seattle is where I grew up, and naturally where I first began to develop my poetry. I tried my first open mike readings at Victor’s Celtic Coffee Co. in Redmond (just east of Seattle). Much of my poetry has been inspired by Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and most of it was written while wandering somewhere around the Seattle area.
Here in the city of Philadelphia, arts are just as important. Philadelphia is an urban hub of historical proportions, which naturally attracts a wide variety of artists. The Inverse Poetry Reading Series is an ongoing project organized by Scott Glassman which showcases Philly poets and Philadelphia area poetry readings. You can get the when and where at their website.
Poetz.com has a calendar of local poetry events and readings for several major metros, including Philadelphia. Since I’m still relatively new to Philadelphia (and I’m not much of an urbanite) I hope those of you in my neighborhood will show your poetry-know-how, and fill me in on what other poetic events I might be missing on the East Coast.
Coming up: poets and poems I admire.