April is National Poetry Month, and thinking about it, this is about a perfect time for poetry. At least for me - I need to be feeling unrushed and in a contemplative space when I read or listen to poetry - each word, each pause seems to carry so much weight. Even though our buildings are closed right now, we can connect you to digital poetry, and a pile of resources for you to explore this oft-neglected genre.
No better place to start than the Academy of American Poets which is bringing it big for National Poetry Month! Not only are there suggestions on how to spend 30 days with poetry, the Academy has created a very special initiative, #shelterinpoems, which asks readers to share poetry across social media platforms to “find courage, solace, and actionable energy.” And just because Poem in Your Pocket Day falls on April 30 doesn’t mean you can’t give away a poem virtually - just keep this document handy and tweet, post or email a loved one instead!
The Poetry Foundation has a site dedicated to teens, and features a series of podcasts with poets, educators and readings. Did you know that Naomi Shihab Nye is the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate? Her 1997 young adult title Habibi was one of the very first to look at strains in the Middle East through the eyes of teens.
TeenInk has been a long time standby for teens wanting to share their poetry and read the work of other teens. It is a commercial site, so you might have to endure a few ads, but the content is teen-specific and there is no cost for viewing or submitting poetry, articles, or artwork.
Looking for some reads and listens to help you celebrate National Poetry Month? Check out this list of titles available from Overdrive. Maybe you are looking for inspiration to make poetry of your own. Check out AIya at the 2019 Youth Poetry Slam Championships and consider submitting your work to Poetry to Go 2020 sponsored by Columbine Poets of Colorado.
I’ll leave you with one final recommendation - Poet X by Elizabeth Avacedo. Though this is not an actual poetry collection, it is about being a poet. It’s also a coming-of-age story about a first-generation Dominican American teen, Xiomara, growing up as a thoroughly American young woman with a developed body in a deeply religious immigrant home. If you can, download the eaudio and hear the author narrate this story herself, artfully and honestly.
Wait! Did you know that April 19-25 is National Library Week? Wow, if there ever was a time to appreciate libraries, it sure is now, so give a shout about your favorite library thing at #NationalLibraryWeek #DenverLibrary!