Any lover of poetry already knows how valuable the library card is. You can check out poems to your heart's delight, from Whitman collections to the many YA books told in verse available. In fact, my teen and I are reading Bayou Magic together right now, which is prose but so poetic you'd think it's poetry, and it's courtesy of the library.
Reading the letters and poems that historical couples have written to one another can be quite revealing. I remember reading some of the smutty letters that the "literary geniuses" that our English teachers assigned us to read later in college and realizing just how human they really were. Did anyone else have that startling realization after idolizing teachers, writers and other "professionals" their whole lives?
In 2019, you might think that no one would be jailed for speaking the words of their heart anymore, but that's the reality that many artists continue to face even to this day. In Somaliland, a poet with dual British citizenship has been detained simply for poems that he's written that are critical about human rights concerns in Somaliland. Police officers accosted him while he was eating lunch after he'd recited a poem and now he's being held.
Never underestimate the kindness of an artist. Some poets like to do random acts of kindness featuring their art, like this 32-year-old poet who sends random poems to people in the mail. Who doesn't love to get snail mail?
We just checked out a book of silly poems as a family and many are just delightful. The collection, written by Jack Prelutsky with illustrations by Brandon Dorman, is called Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face and other poems. It's filled with fanciful creatures, from frogs who take on human characteristics to the dragons and ogres you'd expect from a Prelutsky book, and features over 100 verses about everything from elephants to tigers, witches to dinosaurs and everything in between.
Youth who are into slam poetry can get rewarded for their talents and interests. At Power Poetry, youth can submit their poems and earn scholarship money or just share their words with the world. Some of their open slams feature topical events that impact youth in the world today, from racism to human trafficking, while others (that mention a scholarship in their titles) provide opportunity to further youth knowledge and education.
When I was 12 years old, my paternal grandmother died of cancer. It was the first death in my life that, while not unexpected, really shook me to my core, instilling a heavy sense of loss and grief. I remember writing so many poems, one of which was read at her funeral, and feeling more connected to her, as if my words could somehow reach her that way since I could no longer speak to her.
Today is National Black Poetry Day, a time to celebrate Black poets and their work. Could you name 5 Black poets aside from Maya Angelou? Honestly I'm not even sure if I could unless I think hard enough. This Black Poetry Day, why not take the time to explore a new poet's work? Here is a great list of SLAM poets and works to listen to.
If celebrating National Poetry Month ever turns into simply writing a poem a day (or even just reading one) and it seems a little dull to you, there are so many other cool ways to celebrate. From writing to a poet to carrying a poem in your pocket, Brave Writer has a bunch of great ideas. Homeschool Life Mag suggests different ways to write poetry, like creating a blackout poem.
Are you taking part in World Poetry Day? Whether you are writing, reading or sharing poetry online, feel free to share what you've got here at Poetry Talk in the chat. If you're using the hashtag #WorldPoetryDay on Twitter, you can see lots of cool poems that people are sharing. I've already watched a couple of cool slam poets and am inspired to do something similar with my class soon!