April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
— T.S. Eliot
from The Burial of the Dead
April may be a rough month but it's also National Poetry Month. Coincidence? Given how poets make art of their misery, it seems quite fitting.
Launched in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month began with just a few hundred people taking part. Today, it is the largest literary celebration in the world with special events taking place in thousands of schools, libraries, bookstores, and communities nationwide.
Here's how you'll find me spreading poetry cheer:
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. Poem in Your Pocket Day is on April 18, 2013.
Memorize a Poem
Copying or reciting a poem — my own or someone else's — helps me experience a poem more deeply. With the concentration repetition requires, I more fully "wear" the poem and feel the way its cadence and language bends and moves.
Put Poems in Unexpected Places
Some of my favorite spots: The bathroom stall. The coffeeshop table. Beneath a car's windshield wipers. Slipped between pages of library books. More ideas here.
Write a Letter to a Poet
Have a favorite poet? Or a book of poems you love? Write a letter to the author expressing your appreciation. Or, just write a poetic letter to . . . anyone.
Chalk a Poem
Write a poem on the pavement — in chalk. It's cheap, easy and a fun surprise for passers-by.
Find (unexpected) Poems
Found poetry is waiting for you to discover its beauty. Write a Newspaper Blackout Poem, a Headline Poem, or patch together a Collage Poem. Up for a challenge? Check out Pulitzer Remix, in which poets take on the classics to "find" poems within the texts.
There's no shortage of ways to celebrate: attend a reading, join a writing group (or start one), buy (or borrow) a book of poems, subscribe to a poetry journal, and . . . write a poem (or 30)!
How are you celebrating?