April Showers (Of Poetry)

In the middle of grading and spring breaks and grading and lesson planning, I completely forgot that April was coming! Okay, not April–I do have calendars and such–but April is also National Poetry Month! Exciting for teachers and writers alike! Last year I was more organized in my celebratory efforts, and this year, it got totally away from me, so I’m thinking of how to celebrate this year.

Here are the options I’m considering:

* giving my students an extra-credit opportunity by asking them to choose a poem and doing some kind of public poetry project with it. The opportunities are many: posting poems in public places, making a poem poster, greeting card or bookmark, adding a poem to their email signature for the month of April, reading one aloud at our morning meetings, or even printing the poem (or a portion of it) on a t-shirt and wearing it out. I was inspired by the Poem In Your Pocket ideas, and I would require the students to submit their event on the Academy of American Poets website. If they read it aloud somewhere, I will send them to Billy Collins on reading aloud.

* for myself, I’m thinking of trying the Poem-A-Day challenge again, through the Poetic Asides blog, which offers a prompt per day throughout the month, as well as the chance to submit your five best poems for recognition. I did this last year and had such a fantastic experience, and it dovetails well with my writing goals for the year. So why not do it again? Because I’m weary and exhausted, mentally, and I just don’t feel the juice. But then, of course, that is the reason I feel like I should do it, because I feel better when I feel creatively energized, and maybe this will kick-start me into it.

The real question remains, can I whip something up to get both of these ideas launched when April 1st is a mere two days away, and submitting my third quarter grades and comments lurks between me and that day like a sea monster? Stay tuned, my friends. I’ll keep you posted.

ETA: Check out Tammy’s treasure trove entry for many more great ideas, including another poem-a-day challenge! I don’t know now which I would like to try–what if the prompts on one are more to my liking than the other? I may just do the challenge for myself and keep the poems in my own files instead of posting them anywhere, so I can pick and choose from the prompts–but then I lose the community feeling and the accountability. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

3 thoughts on “April Showers (Of Poetry)

  1. Hey Jackie,

    I didn’t know you had a blog–very cool! Your ideas for National Poetry Month all sound great. I’m sure your students will enjoy implementing them and will find some fabulous new poems as a result. Have you checked out the Poets House website (www.http://poetshouse.org)? They have wonderful programs and always make me wish I lived in NYC.

    Let me know how the Poem-A-Day Challenge goes. I’m taking a bit of a hiatus from poetry writing at the moment (planning a wedding, preparing to travel to Europe, and working on new job skills), but I am still reading lots of poetry and am making it my 2011 goal to prioritize my writing. I’m also currently working on a poetry article for BookBrowse.com, a short review of 4 autobiographical/biographical poetry books, which have all been excellent: Darwin by Ruth Padel, Shannon by Campbell McGrath, The Journals of Susanna Moodie by Margaret Atwood (an oldie but a goodie), and Inflorescence by Sarah Hannah.

    Happy National Poetry Month!



    • Marnie– thank you for reminding me about that Atwood book– I kept meaning to pick it up after reading Alias Grace but I don’t think I ever did! Did you read her book about writing? I love her sharp tongue and dry wit.

      Also, you have reminded me too that I’ve got a poetry book review to write too, of a book called Patrimony for a local journal called JMMW. Maybe I should make part of my April goals to get that finished and sent off! Let me know when your review is online–sounds fascinating!

      Also, all of your hiatus activities sounds wonderful, and I’m sure they will be inspiring for your life and your work both.


  2. Pingback: National Poetry Month! « A Patchwork Life

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