Play with Poetry
April 12, 2022
Note From Rochelle
Happy National Poetry Month!
Don’t miss last week’s interview with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong about their publishing house, Pomelo Books.
Today’s tip offers a few ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Celebrate National Poetry Month: Play with Poetry
by Rochelle Melander
If I read a book [and] it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the tip of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
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:
Read a poem to yourself. Pick up a book of poems (don’t forget to check out ebooks from the library) and skim until you find one that speaks to your life experience. Or sign up to receive a poem a day from poets.org As you search for poems, don’t forget about the wide variety of kid’s poems out there!
Play with words! Using a magnetic poetry set or Haikubes, play with words to create short poems.
Chalk a sidewalk. Find a short poem and use colorful chalk to copy it onto the sidewalk.
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.
Write a poem. 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.
Check out one of my favorite poetry and craft books:
Wild Embers: Poems of Rebellion, Fire, and Beauty by Nikita Gill
Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry Edited by Camille T. Dungy
Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
Poetry as Spiritual Practice: Reading, Writing, and Using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals, Aspirations, and Intentions by Robert McDowell
What Is Poetry?: The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems by Michael Rosen