National Poetry Month 2011

Poetry is everywhere. It even can be found on your car.

April* is National Poetry Month. I wouldn’t have known about it except that I happened to see a tweet regarding the subject in my Twitter feed. As a poet, I probably should be aware of the celebration, but I have to confess that I’m often oblivious to such things.

Now that I know it’s National Poetry Month, I’ve been contemplating how to celebrate. Some magazines (trashy ones, for the most part) are holding poetry contests. I was curious and looked at some of the guidelines at one online magazine. Basically, anything would be accepted as long as it hadn’t been published previously and was written by someone thirteen years of age or older. Bleh.

My own inclination is to write a new poem every day; however, I’m already doing that. I could read poems or critical essays every day, but I’m already doing that for the most part, too. Another option is to share some of my favorite poems via my blog or Facebook page. I would enjoy doing so, but I have already identified two problems with that option. One, how would I determine which poems are my favorites? I do have some poems that have withstood the “test of time,” but, in general, my list of favorite poets and poems is in flux. Two, how would I share a poem on my blog? It’s simple enough to copy and paste (probably type – many of my favorite poems aren’t popular enough to merit a spot on the internet) a poem, but that’s too easy. I would want to write about the poem. What makes it unique? Why does the line break there and not there? Why was that word chosen? What role does the white space play? How does the poem relate to similar poems? Those are merely initial questions. I would hate to think about the follow-up ones. How could I ever condense what I have to say about a poem to a few paragraphs?

I’m afraid that National Poetry Month has put me in a quandary. I feel that I should acknowledge the month by doing something out of the ordinary. What that is, I’m not sure. Until I decide upon that out-of-the-ordinary thing, I’ll continue doing what I’m already doing: reading and writing poetry.

*Originally published April 4, 2011