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April is the Cruelest Month...Unless You Love Poetry
And yet...I remain the most gullible, trickable, April's Fools-able person in the world, and why it was with great horror that I read the National Poetry Foundation's announcement that they were cancelling National Poetry Month, which happens every April. (Spoiler alert: it was published on April 1st. You know. April Fool's Day.) "Poetry has a presence in every part of American life?!" I read aloud, disgusted. "Instead, they are going to have 'an annual month of attention to film, topped off with an awards show in Los Angeles, to take place in February each year?!' Are they kidding??"
Well, yes. Yes they were. And once my brain started working gooder again, I couldn't stop laughing at the post. It's really worth the read. And like all great satire, not only does it make us laugh, it makes us think. Why should it seem so absurd, as the post suggests, that there would be reality shows about writers? That major news shows should debate who really wrote Shakespeare's plays? Will it ever be the case that poetry really is as ubiquitiously-loved as film?
I dunno. While the idea of reading poetry can intimidate me, I also know that there's nothing like that feeling of finding the right poem at the right moment, reading a line that makes you feel all sparkly, discovering that some poet you've never met has expressed a feeling you've often had with gorgeous precision. As I once said, "It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserable every day / for lack / of what is found there." Or wait, maybe that was William Carlos Williams.
Here are some more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month:
BROWSE: The Poetry Foundation has a great function that allows you to browse poetry by subject, season, occasion, and other topics. Each poem is accompanied by some information about the poet and the work's context.
IN YOUR INBOX: The Academy of American Poets has a free Poem-A-Day email you can sign up for to get the best contemporary poems send straight to your mundane old in-box.
NEAR YOU: Poets.org also offers a National Poetry Map, which compiles poetry-related events for every state in the nation.
COMMUNE WITH OTHER READERS: Read about what poems O Magazine readers love and why.
READ WHAT POETS READ: Here are the favorite poems of five of our favorite writers.
How has poetry inspired you? Tell us in the comments!
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