Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Is National Poetry Month!!

Yes, April is National Poetry Month!! 

Did you hear that?

We have an entire month dedicated to reading, writing, and basking in poetry!!

So where do we start?

2014 National Poetry Month Poster

The Academy of American Poets hosts all sorts of poetry fun at their site Poets.org. I worked ahead and ordered one of the free National Poetry Month posters (see image above) for our home school; I hung it up as soon as the clock struck midnight. Here's their page devoted to National Poetry Month. And they even have a National Poetry Month FAQ, so check it out!

It was through Poets.org that I first started reading the Poem-A-Day e-mails which first started as a National Poetry Month treat (yes, only available in April) but has now been expanded to a year-round event. A free service, recipients receive a contemporary poem (usually published within the current year) on weekdays while weekends are reserved for classic poems, a.k.a. "old friends." You may sign up for this amazing gift of starting your day with poetry here: Poem-A-Day

In addition, Poets.org started the annual celebration of Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day in which we are encouraged to tuck a favorite poem (written by us or by a favorite poet) into our pocket and share it with at least one other person during the course of our day. Which day? April 24 is the official Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, so prepare!! More information can be obtained on the page Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day

In 2013 as part of National Poetry Month, Poets.org sponsored a Dear Poet Project in which students and teachers could write letters to some of the Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. More about the project and some of the letters may be viewed here: 2013 Dear Poet Project. Although the project is not being extended to this year's celebration of National Poetry Month, a lesson plan has been designed for students in grades 7-10: Letters to Poets Lesson Plan.

Well, Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Poet's Market on the Writer's Digest website, is hosting the annual PAD (Poem A Day) Challenge in which he'll post a different prompt for each day in April, and everyone tosses their efforts into the ring. I took this challenge in 2010 and really enjoyed the process. This year there are a host of professional judges, plus a book of the best poems (as selected by said judges) will be published by Writer's Market, and a little journal-type books is also available with this year's prompts and "room to add your own" (see above image) is available already. It's a pretty cool opportunity, indeed. Here's the link: PAD Challenge Guidelines. And here's where participants will post their poems on the Writer's Digest site: Poetic Asides: PAD Challenge

I'm in an especially poetry-induced euphoria as I've spent the last week teaching poetry through Brave Writer's Playing with Poetry Family Workshop. In this four-week course, I taught the basics of poetry analysis and structure and how to read and truly enjoy poetry. Then we wrote the following types of poems: free verse including autobiographical and "I Am From..." free verse poems; visual poetry including shape poems, concrete poems, and acrostics; cinquains and diamante poems; the Japanese poetry forms of haiku and tanka; conventional poetry, including couplets, tercets (and terza rima), quatrains, and limericks; and finally alternative poetry which encompassed fragmented poems, "After..." poems, kennings, and then various types of "found" poems including black-out poems, highlighted poems, and book spine poems, among others.

While several of my own poems became part of the class, I wrote a new fragmented poem (a poem written entirely in sentence fragments--usually an editor's nightmare!) that I thought I'd share with you in honor of National Poetry Month. This is only a second draft, so I may go back through it later and revise certain lines:

when the world was newly-burnished,
as the sun ducked behind the rounded hills
suffusing the sky with rose and gold,
the hues ever darkening
before the night falls.

because creation is awash in peaceful activity
the lamb curling up beside the lion,
the rabbit teasing the fox,
nudging bushy tail with wiggling nose.
just before the evening coolness in which He strolls daily

admiring the beauty of His creativity,
no longer alone in the gloaming—
but enjoying the heartbeat of companionship at last.
when the pregnant hush comes,
suspending all in that fearful, frozen moment—

as the woman reaches up
into the forbidden, the deadly,
grasping the delectable fruit,
plucking it, admiring its golden rosiness in her palm--
ruining all as her teeth break the bitter skin.

~copyright 2014 by Susanne Barrett
All rights reserved. 

So I wish you all a wonderful celebration of National Poetry Month!! Please feel free to link to any special poems you've been writing or reading, and I'll share some of my favorite poems this month as well.

Poetically yours,


Teddy Vardell said...

Beautiful Susie!!!!! I love how that painted a beautiful picture :)

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks, Teddy!! :)


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