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Sunday, April 03, 2016


National Poetry Month

Like most writers, at one time I fancied myself a poet. I wasn't. I could never manage to create emotion and lyricism in just a few words the way poets magically do. So all that is left of my life as a poet is a few badly written (and well hidden) poems and a great appreciation for the people who can
write poetry.

I don't often indulge in reading poetry, but I make an exception in April. This April is the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. I know this because a neighboring county -- home to several universities -- celebrates Poetry Month in a big way and I always hear about the events sponsored throughout the county during April. But apparently you don't need universities to organize Poetry Month for you.  The National Poetry Month website has a list of 30 things to do for poetry month, many which you can do on your own or with your writing group. This is not just a list, each suggestion links to a page with additional help. I'm looking forward to Poem in Your Pocket Day! You're sure to find something that would be fun for you.

Maybe you're thinking, "Why read poetry, I don't write it?" I'm not suggesting that you become a poet, but poetry has a place in all our lives. Besides just enjoying it for beauty's sake, as writers poetry gives us a new way to look at words. Poetry illustrates so many "rules" that writing books and teachers are always telling us:
  • Don't use cliched descriptions.
  • Create emotion with your writing.
  • Cut out the unnecessary words.
  • Make your readers think.
  • Use foreshadowing.
Maybe you'll never publish a chapbook of poetry but I can attest to the fact that writing poetry exercises different writing muscles. It makes you think about individual words as more than what they mean, as you consider length, beat, how they "match" words in other lines. Dabbling in poetry (even badly written, half finished poems like those you will occasionally find in my journal) can help make you a better writer, no matter what your genre.

I'd love to hear which of the 30 poem activities you're doing to celebrate National Poetry Month.

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Blogger Margaret Keen said...

I ordered the National Poetry Month poster and I am enrolled in a poem-a-day workshop. Thanks for the link to poem activities!

8:47 PM  

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