Poetry heals the wounded soul. Poetry strengthens the weakened heart. Poetry offers hope for better days. The regular consumption of poetry inspires us. Writing poetry prevents and combats disease. Poetry can calm, inspire, encourage, soothe, inform, humor, comfort, entertain, challenge, delight, prod, and so much more.
Here are activities you can do alone or with others to celebrate National Poetry Month:
Write a poem a day. It does not have to be long or good—just write. Use your poems to chronicle the arrival of spring, shifts in your emotional life, or anything else that stirs your creativity. Check out my resources list below for helpful poetry-writing books.
Chalk a sidewalk. Find a short poem and use colorful chalk to copy it onto the sidewalk.
Sign your poem. New York City made headlines when they added haiku poems to street signs. In Atlanta, a poet created his own Haiku signs and plastered them on lamp posts and walls. How can you turn your poetry into signage?
Find poetry. Listen to the poetry in the world around you: the rhythm of a dog barking, the melody of a bird chirping, or the sounds of the words people speak. Look for poem phrases on street signs, bumper stickers, and billboards. Collect sounds and phrases and create your own “found poetry” poem.
Copy a poem. In the early 1990s, I started a commonplace book—a journal that I filled with quotes from books and poems I loved. Start your own commonplace book by copying down one or more of the poems you love.
Read a poem to yourself. Pick up a book of poems and skim until you find one that speaks to your life experience. Make a copy and post it where you can read it daily.
Read to others. Read a poem aloud to a friend or a group of children.
Watch a poem. Stop by the Poetry Everywhere site to watch and listen to a poem.
Learn more. Go to the Academy of American Poets site for more ideas on how to celebrate National Poetry Month.
Your turn: How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?
Check out one of my favorite books on reading and writing poetry:
The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets who Teach edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell
Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher
Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making by John Fox
Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution edited by Alix Olson
Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey by Clark Strand
Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge