April is National Poetry Month



I know it seems that it is always some “fill in the blank” month, week, or day. Have you celebrated National Pecan Month, Stress Awareness Month, National Humor Month, Read a Road Map Week, National Karaoke Week, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, Hairstyle Appreciation Day, or Rubber Eraser Day this April? Nah, me neither! What I have been enjoying immensely, though, is National Poetry Month. Here are a few ways I’ve been enjoying it, that you might like too:

I subscribe to a-poem-a-day sites. I get an poem from Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems delivered via email each week day from Daily Lit. I also recently subscribed to the poem a day delivery on Poets.org, where I never quite know what is going to be delivered, and it’s usually a poet I’m not familiar with. Today, for example:

To Amy Lowell

Eunice Tietjens
who visits me in a hospital
Like a fleet with bellying sails, 
Like the great bulk of a sea-cliff with the staccato bark
       of waves about it, 
Like the tart tang of the sea breeze 
Are you; 
Filling the little room where I lie straitly on a white 
       island between pain and pain.


I find that reading poems and mulling them over as I sip my coffee and dress put me in a creative, receptive, good headspace for the day. It helps me dwell in possibility.

I’ve been reading so many good essays on what poetry means to people. My two favorites of this week are In Defense of Poetry: Oh My Heart  on The Becoming Radical, and Do What You Do, Love What You Love that was posted on the Poetry Foundation’s blog this week. They need no more words from me; read them.

Speaking of words, I’ve been reading lots of Anne Sexton this National Poetry Month:

Anne Sexton
Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

Gasp! Ka-pow!

Here is something we can all do on April 24th: Poem in Your Pocket Day! Shhhh – don’t tell anybody, but I’m going to write several copies of a poem (to be determined! I’m pretty sure it will be a Dickinson poem, but I’m not sure which one) on paper and leave them in my wake all day. On the train, at the university I work at, in the courtyard, on a park bench, at the library. Meg sent me glorious handmade squares of beautifully weighted paper at the winter holidays, and I think this will be the perfect use for it! I’ll decorate each one and make them special, and hopefully the people who find them will want to keep them. Poem bombing, if you will. I’ll let you know how it goes (and you let me know if you do it too, ok?)!

I LOVE this idea:

I’d love to make a poetry skirt and poetry mittens. But they will have to wait until school is done for the semester! I’d like to embroider a poem around the hem of a skirt, maybe in the same tone of the body of the skirt, as to be subtle. You would have to be looking to know that I have a poem on my skirt. I could use:

A Spider
sewed at Night
Without a Light
Upon an Arc of
White –

If Ruff it was
of Dame
Or Shroud of Gnome
Himself himself
inform –

Of Immortality
His Strategy
Was Physiognomy –

~ Emily Dickinson

What lines of poetry would I put on a pair of mittens? Could I fit

Autumn—overlooked my Knitting


Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—
Dyes—said He—have I—
Could disparage a Flamingo—
Show Me them—said I—

Cochineal—I chose—for deeming
It resemble Thee—
And the little Border—Dusker—
For resembling Me—

Emily Dickinson


Are you celebrating National Poetry Month? I’d love to hear how in the comments!


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