"April is the cruelest month, mixing memory and desire," wrote T.S. Eliot. Maybe that's why April was chosen as National Poetry Month, since one of the best ways I know of to deal with memory and desire, and the havoc they can wreak on me, is by reading poetry. Why else do you think a whole section of the Bible - including the longest book - is dedicated to poetry?
This year I'm getting three daily poems in my inbox, and I wanted to share them with you in case you'd like to sign up.
You can subscribe here to the Academy of American Poets' "Poem-A-Day" email. I get this one year-round.
Knopf Poetry is also sending out a daily poem during April, and you can sign up for that here.
You can also get a daily poem year-round from Your Daily Poem. Your Daily Poem tends to be by far the most accessible of these three, and today's email says:
"Welcome to Wordwoman's Parade of Scintillating Springtime Poetry, my annual tribute to National Poetry Month, in which I attempt to prove that there's poetry out there for everyone. If you think you hate poetry, you just haven't found the right kind. There are poems for fishermen, for people with ADD, for nurses, for athletes, for construction workers . . . if Beowulf and Browning aren't your cup of tea, try Budbill or Bierce instead! Poetry should be a source of pleasure--and it will be, once you've found the right fit."Ah, a woman after my own heart.
This year I am stepping out on a limb and participating in a "Progressive Poem." Irene Latham invited fellow poets (including a lot of actual published ones) to contribute a line. My day is April 15th. Here's the whole schedule:
2012 KidLit Progressive Poem: watch a poem grow day-by-day as it travels across the Kidlitosphere! April 1-30
1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Doraine at Dori Reads
3 Jeannine at View from a Window Seat
4 Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
5 Susan at Susan Taylor Brown
6 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
7 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
8 Jone at Deo Writer
9 Gina at Swagger Writer's
10 Julie at The Drift Record
11 Kate at Book Aunt
12 Anastasia Suen at Booktalking
13 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
14 Diane at Random Noodling
15 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
16 Natalie at Wading Through Words
17 Tara at A Teaching Life
18 Amy at The Poem Farm
19 Lori at Habitual Rhymer
20 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
21 Myra at Gathering Books
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Miranda at Miranda Paul Books
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Greg at Gotta Book
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Linda at Write Time
28 Caroline at Caroline by Line
29 Sheri at Sheri Doyle
30 Irene at Live Your Poem
This is going to be fun! Irene already started with this line, full of possibility:
"If you are reading this..."
There are many more poetic activities this month, too. Irene Latham has a whole list here (scroll down past the Progressive Poem schedule), and I just found out that my friend and colleague Robbie is posting a new poem each week this month, plus something from his archives every day. Check that out here.
I already read a poem every day with each of my classes, and was once happy to hear a student say, "Mrs. H. has a poem for everything!" But National Poetry Month is always welcome, since it's an extra opportunity to appreciate poetry. Nancie Atwell says that reading poetry is like eating chocolates, so you can't do too much of it at once. Here's to gorging on poetry, at least once a year!