We are going into our second week of poetry celebration and some of you might not be aware of the why, hows, and whats of National Poetry Month. And because I didn’t know much about its background I looked it up and thought y’all might like some elucidation on the matter. For even more information I suggest the site (from whence I borrowed these).
National Poetry Month Frequently Asked Questions or NPM FAQ:
- What is National Poetry Month? National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.
- Who started it? The Academy of American Poets has led this initiative from its inception in 1996 and along the way has enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help.
- When is National Poetry Month? April. Every year since 1996.
- Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, the Academy chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and on the advice of teachers and librarians, April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry—in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round. <!—-T. S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruelest month.” It is our hope that National Poetry Month lessens that effect.On a lighter note, Chaucer wrote:
Whan that April with his showres soote The droughte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veine in swich licour, Of which vertu engendred is the flowr
Finally, Edna St. Vincent Millay asked, “To what purpose, April, do you return again?” For National Poetry Month, of course!—>
- What are the goals of National Poetry Month? The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
- Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
- Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
- Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
- Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
- Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
- Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
- Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
- Shouldn’t we celebrate poetry all year round, not just in April? By all means, yes! We encourage the year-round, life-long reading of poetry. National Poetry Month is just one of the many programs of the Academy of American Poets. To keep the celebration going, consider becoming a member of the Academy and receive special benefits and privileges year round. You can also subscribe to receive daily poems by email for free, all year long.
- How does the Academy celebrate National Poetry Month?
- Posters: Each year the Academy creates and distributes nearly 200,000 official NPM posters, which are mailed for free to teachers, librarians, and booksellers nationwide.
- Events: The Academy presents several special events and readings in April, including our star-studded annual Poetry & The Creative Mind.
- Publicity: To ensure that poetry gains national attention in the media each April, the Academy sends press releases to editors and journalists across the country. As a result, thousands of articles about poetry appear in newspapers, magazines, and online media outlets. The Academy also acts as the official clearing house for news and information about National Poetry Month.
- Inspiration & Guidance: The Academy offers a plethora of practical resources for celebrating NPM, including tips for teaching poetry during April, creating a poetry book display in your bookstore or library, presenting a poetry reading or contest, and much more.
I feel much more informed having read through all of these. Frankly, I though April was chosen to offset the sting of taxes and because April is when spring begins to do its thing more clearly. Goes to show, how much I didn’t know. Can’t stop rhymanizing my sentences–must have to do with all the poetrizing I’m doing these last few days.
Happy National Poetry Month!