Celebrate Poetry!

National Poetry Month is just a week away. Need inspiration for some last-minute programming, or looking for ideas you can use year-round? The American Academy of Poets offers a list of thirty ways to celebrate poetry; here are ten from the list that can be easily adapted for libraries:

  • Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day
    “The idea is simple: select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it with co-workers, family, and friends.”

  • Put poetry in an unexpected place
    “Books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities.”

  • Play Exquisite Corpse
    “Each participant is unaware of what the others have written, thus producing a surprising—sometimes absurd—yet often beautiful poem.”

  • Read a poem at an open mic
    “It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local writing community.”

  • Watch a poetry movie

    "What better time than National Poetry Month to gather some friends, watch a poetry-related movie, and perhaps discuss some of the poet’s work after the film?”

  • Put a poem on the pavement
    “Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk.”

  • Organize a poetry reading
    “When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar or performance space.”

  • Promote public support for poetry

    "Every year, Congress decides how much money will be given to the National Endowment for the Arts to be distributed all across America.”

  • Start a poetry reading group
    “Select books that would engage discussion and not intimidate the reader new to poetry.”

  • Start a commonplace book
    “Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called commonplace books.”

Another idea I love, but would require more work, is a visit to a poetry landmark: "Visiting physical spaces associated with a favorite writer is a memorable way to pay homage to their life and work.”