April is National Poetry Month! Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, it has become the largest worldwide literary event. Schools, libraries, bookstores, publishers and fans of literature celebrate poets and their craft with events like Poem in Your Pocket, Poem-a-Day, and Dear Poet.

If you are looking for creative ways to celebrate poetry in all its forms, here are 15 suggestions from the Academy of American Poets’ list of 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month:

  1. Sign up for Teach This Poem, a weekly series for teachers.
  2. Review these concrete examples of how poetry matters in the United States today.
  3. Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
  4. Ask your governor or mayor for a proclamation in support of National Poetry Month.
  5. Attend a poetry reading at a local university, bookstore, cafe, or library.
  6. 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 poetry writing community.
  7. Start a poetry reading group.
  8. Deepen your daily experience by reading Edward Hirsch’s essay “How to Read a Poem.”
  9. Recreate a poet’s favorite food or drink by following his or her recipe.
  10. Read about different poetic forms.
  11. Watch Rachel Eliza Griffiths’s P.O.P (Poets on Poetry) videos.
  12. Watch or read Carolyn Forche’s talk “Not Persuasion, But Transport: The Poetry of Witness.”
  13. Read or listen to Mark Doty’s talk “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now.”
  14. Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.
  15. Get ready for Mother’s Day by making a card featuring a line of poetry.

To read the full list of 30 Ways, visit their website. Search April poetry events near you here and read our exclusive interview with poet and activist Cleo Wade with a video of her TED Talk and poetry reading from her new book, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life (Atria/37 INK).


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