I'm a day late with this post - but oh how happy I am to find out that April (yes, April, my favouritest month of the year!) is host to the National Poetry Writing Month in America, an initiative set up to recognise and give recognition to poetry.
Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events. (Times like this I wish I lived in America! They really know how to embrace poetry.)
But no, not just in America now. Thanks to the powers of the Internet, it has spread sporadically all over the world! #NanPoWriMo is the tag you'll find it by in Twitter and the likes. I think it's such a great idea as I can't rave enough about poetry, and really, how important and essential it is in our society, and today especially, how necessary.
NanPoWriMo encourages us all to dabble in poetry - either read it or write it, but really, write it! Everyone has poetry in them! And what it's all about too is sharing this joy for poetry: send poems to loved ones, exchange scribblings by email, recite, read, lounge in and ultimately, get to know poetry, get to love it!
I must admit I am totally excited about engaging in the challenge (or fun) of writing a poem a day! I usually write poems when they strike me, out of the big bad blue, when I'm in the mood for sitting down and unravelling thoughts and emotions into words, or when a few words are floating in my vision screaming out to be inked! But now, I like the idea of willing myself to write a poem a day, or to find an idea for a poem a day. And so far, it's going good (well, says the amateur, two days down...)
Also, April is the A-Z Blogger challenge month! Which essentially is a challenge to write a blog each day on a topic stemming from the letter of the alphabet that day, every day minus Sundays (a deserved day of rest) which thanks to April's neat 30 day length, will total 26 days, for 26 letters. Phew! While I am not participating in this challenge, I am taking it on board for a daily writing prompt, because I love challenges like this where hopefully it will help me build up some SELF-DISCIPLINE. Yep. Badly needed! And I'd like to say good luck to all the bloggers who are participating in the marathon month ahead! May the force be with you!
So, April is a busy month all round it seems. As Spring is just beginning to blossom, hopefully bountiful writing is too...
Here's a good reason (in poem version) of why to get involved!:
First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.
Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.
To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.
Poetry demands surrender, language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.
Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.
When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.
You can now read poetry.