April 2, 2009

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Though many of us think it runs all year, the Academy of American Poets started the month of celebration back in 1996.

It's a good thing because every April publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country pay attention on celebrating poetry.

There are literally thousands of readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events that occur across the country.

Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? According to AAP:

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!

By the way, April is also National Humor Month. What you might want to do in this age of multitasking is read (or listen to) some humorous poetry.

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