It’s National Poetry Month!

Happy National Poetry Month! Here at Random Acts of Writing, we’re going to be writing a poem a day — #NaPoWriMo — so check back daily! But did you know that National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 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. Here are 30 ways you can participate…

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.

  2. Sign-up to receive a free National Poetry Month poster, or download the PDF, and display it for the occasion.

  3. Read last year’s most-read poem, Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”

  4. Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on twitter and instagram!

  5. Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day podcast.

  6. Check out an e-book of poetry from your local library.

  7. Begin your virtual meetings or classes by reading a poem.

  8. Talk to the teachers in your life about Teach This Poem.

  9. Learn more about poets and virtual poetry events in your state.

  10. Read about your state poet laureate.

  11. Browse Poems for Kids.

  12. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.

  13. Make a poetry playlist.

  14. Browse the glossary of terms and try your hand at writing a formal poem.

  15. Create an online anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.

  16. Organize a poetry reading, open mic, or poetry slam via a video conferencing service.

  17. Sign up for an online poetry class or workshop.

  18. Donate books of poetry to little free libraries and mutual aid networks.

  19. Research and volunteer with poetry organizations in your area.

  20. Take a walk and write a poem outside.

  21. Start a virtual poetry reading group or potluck, inviting friends to share poems.

  22. Write an exquisite corpse or a renga with friends via email or text.

  23. Take on a guerrilla poetry project in your building.

  24. Read essays about poetry like Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem,” Mary Ruefle’s “Poetry and the Moon,” Mark Doty’s “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now,” and Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Life of Poetry.”

  25. Watch a movie, lecture, or video featuring a poet.

  26. Read and share poems about the environment in honor of Earth Day.

  27. Make a poetry chapbook.

  28. Submit your poems to a literary magazine or poetry journal.

  29. Make a poem to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2020.

  30. Make a gift to support the Academy of American Poets free programs and publications and keep celebrating poetry year-round!

National Poetry Month poster, with permission from the Academy of American Poets. Artwork by Samantha Aikman.

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