A Few Things to Know About April: National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets after seeing the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March).

This is the prompt list for 2019. Technically titled “escapril,” the idea behind it means “let’s escape into poetry” for every day of April. 

National Poetry Month has spawned many activities surrounding people’s appreciation of poetry. The biggest and most interactive one is NaPoWriMo, a project started by a poet living in Washington DC. It stands for National Poetry Writing Month, and is based off of the writing “marathon” NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) where writers try to write 50,000 words of a novel/an entire novel in the month of November. The goal for NaPoWriMo is to write a poem every day in April, based off of prompts. There’s official prompts that circulate social media for each day, but of course, you can write whatever comes to mind. If you’re one of those people who wants to write more but can never seem to find the time or inspiration, participating in these projects can help you be more disciplined about getting any idea that goes through your mind onto paper, which can lead to creating something that’s actually good.

Here’s an example of a poem written for escapril/NaPoWriMo. Their handle on Instagram is @letsescapril

If writing isn’t your thing, there’s another project that pushes people to read a poem every day in April. Poetry gets a bad rap today probably because students were never really taught how to read and appreciate poetry, let alone write it. It’s seen as boring and inaccessible (that’s changing a bit in our generation because of Rupi Kaur, which is great), but there’s a poem out there for everyone. Poetry doesn’t have to be anything you don’t want it to be.

Another big part of National Poetry Month is supporting poets in your town/city/school. On the website for Academy of American poets, you can type in your zip code and look for poetry events near you at local bookstores, libraries or coffee shops.

If you want to learn more about poetry in general, the website of the Academy of American poets is a great place to start. They have a bunch of resources for finding, reading, writing and understanding poetry. There’s an interesting essay on there titled “How to Read a Poem” that might help you if you’ve never really gotten how to read and appreciate poetry (it’s hard!)

Additionally, Instagram is a great place to start looking at more contemporary poets and writers. Many Instagram accounts are dedicated to writing poetry and have pretty feeds with original or re-posted poetry.

Another Instagram account that regularly posts poetry is @poetry

Poetry is not just an old, boring part of English class. Anyone can read, write or appreciate it and people are successfully bringing it into the 21st century.

 

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