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April is National Poetry Month! Get a jump start with these creative ideas and resources

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I know you may be thinking, hey, wait! It’s only March!

Yes indeed it is but in my world Poetry Month in April is so exciting, we need a whole month to prepare! National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

“It can’t be paraphrased. It can’t be translated. The great poetry I love holds the mystery of being alive. ”
—Marie Howe, Academy of American Poets Chancellor (2018– )
National Poetry Month Poster

The 2018 National Poetry Month poster, designed by AIGA Medal and National Design Award-winning designer Paula Scher, celebrates typography and is suggestive of concrete poetry and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. More than 100,000 free posters will be distributed to schools, libraries, and bookstores coast to coast to help celebrate April events. Order your free poster here.

April may be National Poetry Month but another big part of the celebration is Poem in your Pocket Day on April 26. Do you like secret little messages tucked into quiet little places like your pocket or lunch pail? My children love this and today we are sharing with classmates, friends, and neighbors alike a little rolled up poem to keep in their pockets to share with all they meet.

Keep A Poem In Your Pocket

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2018 is on April 26 and is part of National Poetry Month. On this day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.

If you aren’t a poet at heart, but would still like to participate, the National Poetry Month site has free downloadable poems for everyone to share and enjoy including notable favorites like:

The Red Poppy by Louise Glück
Remember by Joy Harjo
Here and There by Juan Felipe Herrera
Cotton Candy by Edward Hirsch
The Weighing by Jane Hirshfield
The Moment by Marie Howe
Lyric by Khaled Mattawa
Variation on a Theme by W. S. Merwin
Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz by Alicia Ostriker
Springing by Marie Ponsot
When Giving Is All We Have by Alberto Ríos
The Owl by Arthur Sze
Eleventh Brother by Jean Valentine
Imaginary Morning Glory by C. D. Wright

Reluctant Reader Tip #2

Today’s theme works nicely for those who aren’t quite sure they want to pick up the skill of reading. Little poems, jokes, or encouraging messages tucked inside pockets, backpacks or lunch sacks make for a nice way to reach out to your new reader. They’ll love hearing from you and won’t even realize they’re reading…..but that’s ok, you will.

Great Poetry Resources:

Print Some Pocket Poems

Jack Prelutsky Website for Kids

Shel Silverstein Printables for your pocket

Put a Poem in your pocket

Some of my Favorite Poetry Reads/Books

Recently Updated1 

What fun and poetry to you have planned for this special event?


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