After Black History Month and Women’s History Month were created and were successful in gaining notice, the Academy of American Poets proposed the creation of National Poetry Month. They actually asked publishers, librarians, poets, teachers and all literary organizations to send representatives to meet and discuss instituting a poetry month.
And so, in 1995, the first National Poetry Month was established. In 2001, the Academy members voted on a poet for a postage stamp. Langston Hughes was the winner; he was the most popular with over 10,000 votes. Later, in 2006, the Academy started Poem in Your Pocket; they posted a new poem everyday on their website for a month. That was so successful; they now post a poem every day. They also will email a poem a day to those who sign up for it.
So why are people so passionate about poetry? Why did they want a whole month to talk about and promote poetry?
How else can you create an image in your mind with words? Image trying to write a paragraph about these poems and the pictures they convey. Sometimes poems say more in images that a paragraph can say.
The fog comes in on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
by Carl Sandburg
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
by William Carolos Williams
I broke your heart.
I tread on shards.
by Vera Pavlova
Shake and shake
The catsup bottle.
First a little–
And then a lott’l.
by Richard Armour
the moon so pure
a wandering monk carries it
across the sand
by Basho (Japanese Haiku master)
Poems make you see pictures or feel something; they can also help you get your feelings out. Not all poems have to rhyme. They don’t have to go on and on. If you like structure, try a haiku. Haiku should be seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven and five. It is traditionally written about nature. Google haiku and get inspired.
This year, during April 2015, we hope you pay attention to what you see and feel and just perhaps you might try to find a poem that matches you r feelings. Or perhaps write one just for yourself. It’s easier than you think. Think about subscribing to poem-a-day from http://www.poets.org.
You could participate in Put a Poem in Your Pocket, on Thursday, April 30. All you need to do is find a poem you like and share it with others: you could add it to your email footer for one day or you could send to school with your child or teen. You could post it at work, on the bulletin board or on email or tweet about a favorite poet, or poem.
Just one day. Surely we can all handle that!