I don’t read enough poetry, and I’d like to read more. So every year when April, aka National Poetry Month, rolls around, I look forward to discovering new poets, rereading some old favorites, and just generally delighting in the perfection of an amazing turn of phrase.
But this year, I want to keep going after April is over, because the world needs more poetry. Here are some of the easiest ways I’ve found to keep on finding and celebrating poetry once this month is over.
Participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27—and keep it going.
April 27 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. This day started in 2002 in New York City and has since expanded across the United States and Canada. All you do is pick a poem, carry it around all day, let other people read it, and talk about it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. To keep this up beyond April, you could start writing out your favourite poems and carrying them around, switching it up when the mood strikes. Poetry is perfect to read on public transit, too.
Sign up for a poetry newsletter.
Years ago, I signed up for April Is, an email newsletter that I randomly discovered on, maybe, Livejournal? Hey, it was the early 2000s. This person sends out one poem per day for all of April. Whoever they are, they have great taste. But when April is over, I plan to check out one of these options, all of which run all year long: Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day newsletter, Poetry Daily’s daily poem, Poem-A-Day email from Poetry.org.
Share poetry on social media.
Do you ever read an amazing line or phrase in a poem and think, “I wish I could force everyone to read this?” Well, you can! Why not tweet, snap, gram, etc., a line you love every week? Check out poetry-themed Twitter accounts like this Langston Hughes one for inspiration.
Watch a poetry-themed movie.
Hollywood seems to think that the lives of poets are very exciting (and some of them were!), so there are tons of movies to choose from. Terence Davies’s A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson, was just released in North America this month. I also recommend Bright Star, Jane Campion’s 2009 film based on the life of John Keats, Sylvia, with Gwyneth Paltrow in the titular role as Plath, and of course Shakespeare in Love. One movie I’m eager to check out is The House Is Black. This 1963 movie isn’t about a poet, but was directed by Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, who adapted poetic techniques for cinema.
Go to a reading.
Some poetry is meant to be heard and experienced, not read on the page, so why not check out a reading? You might make new friends and discover up-and-coming poets. Search online event listings for your city or check in with your local bookstores to see if they have any poetry readings coming up. Attention, teachers and students: there’s even a Poetry Out Loud competition for schools.
Here’s to more poetry for everyone!