Poetry for a Month

Bringing light to National Poetry Month

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Poetry for a Month

photo by Rachel Schaelchlin

photo by Rachel Schaelchlin

photo by Rachel Schaelchlin

Rachel Schaelchlin, Reporter

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Words are far more powerful than people give them credit for, and the magnitude of their importance should never be underestimated. So, this month, National Poetry Month, give beautiful words of poetry extra appreciation and explore the depth of their meaning and rich history.

The organization, the Academy of American Poets, founded National Poetry Month in April of 1996.  According to their mission statement, Academy’s aim is to “highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets, encourage the reading of poems, assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms, increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media, encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and encourage support for poets and poetry.”

One teacher certainly spreading awareness for poetry month is the Creative Writing Poetry teacher, Mr. Caruso. He intends, this month, to introduce a new poetry item — either every day or every other day — to his Academic English classes, and he plans to share poems that relate to his teaching regime that following week, in hopes that the poetry “will inspire them as it has inspired [him].”

The Academy of American Poets was heavily influenced by the success of Black History Month (every February) and Women’s History Month (every March). The idea of celebrating and appreciating poetry and poets was born in 1995, and the first was held in 1996.

For years, people and organizations have helped push the awareness of this month, from giving away thousands of free poetry books to the Empire State building lighting up blue lights to celebrate the 10th anniversary, back in 2005.

The National Poetry Month organizers recommend celebrating by writing a poem a day, but there are many ways to get involved.

“First, find a poet that is accessible right away — there are many great ones,” said Mr. Caruso. “For example, the contemporary poet — Billy Collins — writes poetry that is really profound and accessible with language that is easy to wrap your arms around. Another great poet, the late Mary Oliver, was a very accessible poet who wrote poems that were, again, profound and meaningful and have a way of wrapping themselves around the reader, if they’re patient enough to get through the lyrics. From there, you can venture off into poems that seem more dense and difficult because you will feel empowered to read works of poetry like that.” 

National Poetry Month offers participants a chance to get involved in a whole new world. As John Fowles simply said, “We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.” With all of these incredibly effortless yet effective tasks, we should all take a role in appreciating the beauty that is veiled behind the significant words found deep in the wonders of poetry.