Thursday, April 8, 2010

Get your poet on!

April is National Poetry Month! I had no idea until this email from Gotham Writer’s Workshop.

Though a week late, you can sign up for National Poetry Month’s Poem a Day from

Myself, I receive a poem a day year round through NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, which also has cool facts associated with the date.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has the right idea by showcasing seven local poets. Hear them read their works here. had a cool idea for Poem in Your Pocket Day, to be held April 29th. Coworkers might not be receptive to shared poems, but other ideas include:
- Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
- Add a poem to your email footer
- Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
- Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
- Text a poem to friends

I also had no idea April was NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) until that email. It’s described as “An adaptation of National Novel Writing Month, NaPoWriMo challenges participants to write and post a poem each day in April.” Apparently you have to be a registered member to see the web site, but here’s a list of blogs mentioning NaPoWriMo, if you care to peruse them.

In celebration of “the role of contemporary poetry in American culture,” The Academy of American Poets’ Gala benefit on April 20 looks like a fun soiree. Some of this year’s guest readers at the event, Poetry & The Creative Mind, include Lauren Bacall, Liam Neeson, Joan Baez, Glenn Close, Dan Rather, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Caroline Kennedy, Meryl Streep, Wynton Marsalis and William Wegman (whom I love, his photos are borderline poetic). Cheap seats start at $40. Tempting.

Like short stories, poetry is great for sharpening your writing skills. Poetry demands precise language to convey images and ideas. I highly recommend Frances Mayes’ The Discovery of Poetry for any writer. Reading Barbara Hamby’s poetry is like entering another dimension. It takes me right out of the present to an amazing place.

Think poetry is low tech? Think again. even has Poem Flow for iPhones. “A veritable box of light with words and thought in fluid motion.” It’s true that inspiration can come from anything, I suppose.

And Billy Collins has posted some animated poems on You Tube (but disabled the embedding, so you have to click on the link, sorry) -- among them, Forgetfulness and The Dead. Maybe to entice younger generations to the medium? Hopefully.

So what are you waiting for? Get your poet on! It’s National Poetry Month.

Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate online at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I knew it was National Poetry Month because my daughter is writing a poem for school. I dabble in poetry but have too many deadlines to work on it. I'm very slow at poetry creation. I hope to see some on my friends' blogs.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cate
I didn't realize it was National Poetry month. I believe they do have it here in Australia too. I use to write poetry many years ago, rather pitiful sad little ditties thought.



Cate Masters said...

Very cool, Susan! My youngest daughter won a bond at the Amani Festival for her poem when she was young. Wish she still wrote.

Cate Masters said...

Hi Margaret! I saved all the poems my friends and I wrote in grade school. It's fun to read over them now and relive such great times.