Friday, April 1, 2011

About National Poetry Month

You may know that April is National Poetry month, but do you know why?

National Poetry Month was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The following information is from their website:

What is National Poetry Month? 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. National Poetry Month has been successful beyond all anticipation and has grown over the years into the largest literary celebration in the world.

Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? With input from booksellers, librarians, poets, and teachers, the Academy chose a month during the school year so that schools and students could participate fully. February is Black History Month and March is Women's History Month, so April seemed a logical choice.

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
There are many resources on the Academy of American Poets website:
Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 14th: The idea is simple - select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 14. Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Ideas for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day can be found by clicking on the link above. This would definitely be a fun activity for kids!

Poem-A-Day: Beginning April 1, Poets.org will send one new poem to your inbox each day to celebrate National Poetry Month. The poems have been selected from new books published this spring. Click the link above to sign-up. What a convenient way to collect poems and share them in classrooms and at home with children.

Poetcast: The Poetcast is the official podcast of the Academy of American Poets. Podcasts are like online radio shows, except that you don’t have to tune in at a given time. Last year the Poetcast included readings by Poet Laureates Anne Bosselaar and Elaine Equi. Additionally, there are over 150 audio clips of poems read by poets available through a searchable database. Children and adults alike enjoy hearing poetry read aloud by the authors.

Curriculum Units and Lesson Plans

National Poetry Map: provides information on the history, poets, organizations and centers, journals, conferences, festivals, and popular poems from each state in the US. Very neat!

Poetry Book club: The Poetry Book Club aims to enhance the reading of poetry, both the private pleasure of the individual as well as the collective appreciation of a group. The proliferation of book groups in the last decade has inspired Poets.org to create a meeting place for poetry book groups, with where-to-begin suggestions, ideas for formats, and reading lists by contemporary poets.

Tips for Teachers: Includes a number of creative and inexpensive suggestions for making poetry a more important part of school life during April and throughout the year.

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