Celebrating National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. I haven’t always been a fan of poetry, and I really wasn’t thrilled with having to take poetry for my degree program. Structurally, it didn’t make sense to my brain. Why do you cut a sentence apart into lines or have no sentences at all?! I never realized that I cared so much about grammar as I did when trying to understand poetry.

Poetry was exactly what I needed in life, however. It’s become a way for me to express a lot of ideas that I can’t really do in other outlets. It’s also been a blessing in teaching myself to slow down, to examine things with time stopped. As such, it’s been very therapeutic to work things out in this format, and I find myself drawn to it quite often.

I’ve been going to poetry readings as well. One of my favorite professors is a poet; he did a spoken word event to bring awareness to HIV and AIDs in my first year, and I was floored by how much energy he can draw when he’s on a stage. He was recently recognized as Hartford’s first poet laureate, and so I’ve had further access to hear him read his poems aloud. He’s also introduced me to other local poets in the area. I can’t speak about National Poetry Month without also speaking about how awesome Professor Frederick Douglass Knowles II is!

So how can you celebrate this month?

Read poetry!

Poems.org is a great resource for discovering what makes poems transcend time. They feature bios of poets and snippets of what inspired the poems. My favorite is their poem-a-day feature. I get an email every morning!

Today’s featured poet is Nikky Finney, a poet who I had never heard of until today. Check out her poem  O’ Noblesse O.’

Poetry is best served orally.

Here are some of my favorites:

And our Allaire family Poet Laurette:
Broken Pieces by Lisa Shirley-Allaire

Another way to enjoy National Poetry month is to WRITE poetry.

Writer’s Digest is having a daily challenge on their site. They set out a prompt and you draft up a poem and share it within that day, if you find yourself unsure how to start the writing process. It’s also great because you can see how other poets tackled that challenge and learn from their perspectives.

When I discovered this daily challenge, it was already on day 6. So I gave that one a go. The prompt was to start with the word “After.” I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, because it ends on a hot debate item in our family, but isn’t that what poetry is about, finding a way to navigate life, even the uncomfortable bits?

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