Poetry may be the oldest medium to express one’s experiences and emotions creatively, but its popularity has continued to grow. The reason is simple, poetry lovers and poets found a new purpose for it – a powerful tool to convey messages for social justice and other worthy causes. People worldwide celebrate National Poetry Month once a year, so let’s learn the best ways to celebrate it this year.
National Poetry Month is about promoting the greatest poets of all time, the importance of poetry in our culture, and encouraging everyone to read poetry. As a poetry lover, I have tons of ideas for making this day fun and memorable. The best part of it is the ideas are suitable for all ages.
I also consider people’s schedules and living conditions. Therefore, you can do the following activities at work (on-premise, remote, and hybrid work setup), at home, and online. Let’s get started.
13 Ways To Celebrate National Poetry Month
There are 30 days to enjoy and keep the art of poetry in the spotlight. Make the most out of it with these awesome activities.
1. Decorate Your Place For The Occasion
There’s no better way to set the right mood than decorating your place. Hearing the word “decorating” makes some think about the cost. Let me tell you, there’s no need to be extravagant.
The simple act of hanging National Poetry Month posters on your wall or work desk is enough to spark inspiration. You can get the posters in your local libraries, schools, and bookstores. Suppose you want the official poster provided by non-profit organizations like the Academy of American Poets and League of Canadian Poets; you can request it on their website.
Are you a fan of DIY projects? Then, I have the best projects for you. The simplest project you can do is creating a wall of poems.
Every day you will write a poem on a colored sticky note and place it on the wall. Make it a routine for the whole month or until you fill the entire wall. If you prefer visuals, you can transform poems into illustrations.
You can make the illustration by hand or using drawing software. If you choose the latter option, print the final piece, then hang it on your wall. Due to its artistic appeal, you can leave it hanging all year long.
2. Learn National Poetry Month History
A great way to start the month-long celebration is to learn the history of National Poetry Month. Which month is it celebrated? And, who started it?
The answer differs per country. Most countries celebrate National Poetry Month in April. While the U.K. and Ireland celebrate it on the first Thursday of October.
Though the month of celebration is different, the goals are the same – increase support for poets and poetry. When it comes to the question of who founded it, I’ll discuss each of them briefly.
2.1 Academy Of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit organization (member-supported) founded in 1934. To raise public awareness about the importance of poets and poetry, they launched the National Poetry Month program in April 1996.
Today, their program is the largest and most recognized literary celebration globally. Primarily because of the continuous support from the public readers, partners, sponsors, poets, teachers, and more. The program offers different activities and resources that the public can join or get.
- Virtual poetry and the creative mind gala
- Order the official 2022 National Poetry Month poster for free
- Sign up for a free daily poem in your email inbox
2.2 Forward Arts Foundation And Jim MacCool
At first, U.K. residents celebrate National Poetry Day, which the Forward Arts Foundation founded in 1994. It’s a registered charity that receives the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, educational entities, and leading literary and cultural organizations.
Like the Academy of American Poets, it offers activities and resources that the public can enjoy. They are mostly known for their reading and performance events across the U.K. You can visit their website to see the events near you and other activities you can join.
- 24-hour Poetry lock-in livestream on Instagram
- Teacher-training workshops series
- Poetry book sales
- Project Haiflu
Fast forward to 2000, a British dramatic poet named Jim MacCool founded National Poetry Month. It was then adopted by the Performance Poetry Society the same year.
3. Buy A Poetry Book
Books provide education and entertainment. So, it’s an excellent investment to buy one or two from time to time. You can find poetry books online and at your local bookstore.
Some people prefer to buy digital books for convenience. You can read anywhere with or without an internet connection. It won’t also take up extra space inside your bag or purse since it’s downloaded on your phone or tablet.
Another advantage of buying poetry books online is accessibility to a broader selection. You can choose from eBooks, visual poems (picture book format), comic style, audiobooks, and more.
But some people couldn’t resist the smell of fresh, new books. It is also a healthier option because actual books are easier on the eyes and promote better sleep. Not to mention, the chance of getting distracted is lower.
4. Make A Poetry Playlist
Life can get extremely busy for some people. So, not everyone can find the time to read a poetry book. The recommended alternative is listening to poetry audio recordings.
There are many online resources where you can find poets and writers’ audio recordings (reading and discussing their work). The Library of Congress, New York Society Library, and Poets.org are a few of the trustworthy websites. Select your favorites and compile them on a playlist.
All audio recordings available are free to listen to. So, you can listen to your playlist whether you are on a break (school or work) or prepping yourself to bed wearing elegant and sweet babydoll lingerie.
5. Donate Poetry Books
National Poetry Month is all about sharing your passion for poetry with others. The best way to do that is by donating your old poetry books. Local libraries, schools, and bookstores often facilitate a donation drive.
If you can’t find one, you can research poetry organizations and charities in your area that you can participate in. I understand that it isn’t easy to let go of your favorite book, but just thinking of how you will make others happy when they find that unique treasure – it’s worth it. It’s a plus that you can free up the space on your bookshelf for new books.
6. Join Sponsored Activities
No idea what to do this National Poetry Month? Why not join the local organizations’ sponsored activities near you. Every year literature and cultural organizations with their sponsors and partners offer activities to celebrate the occasion.
It’s a combination of online and offline activities. A gala, poetry writing contest, and poetry readings are a few of the activities. Most of these activities are free to register for, so you can choose any activity you want.
7. Organize An Open Mic Night
Open mic night is an event where people can go and perform their poems on stage. You don’t have to be a published or famous poet to join; it’s open to everyone. If you want a more intimate setting, you can organize your own open mic night and invite loved ones who share the same passion for poetry.
This type of event runs differently. Some require you to sign up a form to request an invitation. But for most events, you just need to arrive on time (first-come-first-serve basis). It’s up to you what you prefer to implement at your event.
Open mic night is not a new concept. In ancient times, poets like Simonides of Ceos and Homer would also recite their poems in public. The only difference is that they often do it as entertainment for those who can afford it.
8. Take A Poetry Reading Challenge On Social Media
Social networking sites’ popularity is rising rapidly. That’s why it becomes an excellent tool for promoting an event or showing off one’s talents. During National Poetry Month, most organizations (nonprofit and private) and independent poetry fan groups organize a poetry reading challenge.
The mechanics are simple – you need to record yourself while reciting a poem. Ensure the video and audio quality is superb to make it easier for everyone to watch. Making it engaging is also good to prevent your audience from getting bored.
Adding visuals like animated illustrations or PowerPoint presentations are a few of the ideal options. You can play it in the background to further set the right mood. There are two ways to create visuals, do it from scratch or choose presentation templates available online.
Poetry reading challenges have different criteria for judging. You will know them upon registration. If not, you can search it online and keep them in mind while practicing and recording.
Poise and confidence are important factors when judging a poetry reading performance. But of course, they are not enough. I’ve listed down other criteria you must take by heart.
- Clarity of spoken words and diction
- Poetic expression and a clear insight into the poet’s intention
- Presence and presentation
- Spontaneity of recitation
Once the creation process is completed, you can submit it on the organizer’s approved social media channels. Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are the popular platforms used because of their large number of users. Use the official hashtag for everyone to access your entry easily.
If you enjoy it so much and see yourself doing it for a long-time, you can start your own podcast channel. Besides poets’ great works, you can also feature other literary works and your own masterpiece.
9. Create An Online Anthology
The anthology is a published collection of songs, poems, and other forms of writing. If you have an extensive collection of your favorite poems, it’s recommended to create an online anthology. Many digital publishing platforms, like Poets.org and Vellum, invite poetry fans to create one on their website.
Can you create a personal anthology? Yes, you can. You can do that by creating a website.
Control is its primary advantage. You can freely get the design you want and organize the poems based on their genre and theme. Since people process visuals more than text, you can make it more engaging by adding video content.
The topics you can discuss are endless. You can start by introducing yourself and your favorite poets’ life history or work. Then you can move on to sharing writing advice, poetry book recommendations, and more.
National Poetry Month wouldn’t be completed without showing off your original work. If you have a collection of original poems, you can publish one of them on your social media accounts every day. To ensure your poems will receive the attention it deserves, you can follow all the relevant celebrations on social media and use the proper hashtags.
If you have nothing yet, it’s the best time to start. You can begin taking the 30-day writing challenge. Every day you will challenge yourself to write one type of poetry, even if you are unfamiliar with it.
Learning a new writing technique can help you beat boredom while keeping you flexible and confident. There are several poetry types available worldwide; you can research each to know how to begin. I will discuss the four popular types to give you an idea.
Tanka, which translates as a short poem or song, is a classical Japanese poetry that refers to a 31-syllable poem. It only contains five lines with a syllable count form of 5/7/5/7/7 (in order). Don’t mistake it with Haiku because it’s much longer than the latter by the last two syllables (5/7/5 syllable count for Haiku).
Tanka is originally written as a form of intimate communication between lovers. But later on, it evolves and can now express depictions of everyday life. The most popular Tanka poem is the Emperor Tenji: Aki no ta no/ Kariho no io no/ Toma wo arami/ Waga Koromode wa/ Tsuyu ni nuretsusu
In the autumn rice field
Sheltering at the temporary harvest-hut
Coarse the rush-mat roof
My sleeves get wet
With the raindrops
Are you a fan of humorous poems? Limerick is the best poetry type you can try. It’s a one-stanza poem that consists of five lines.
As part of its rule, you need to use two rhymes. One rhyme must be added to the first, second, and fifth lines. While the second rhyme is placed on the third and fourth lines.
A popular example is the nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock: Hickory, dickory, dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, The mouse ran down, Hickory, dickory, dock.
The acrostic poem is derived from the Greek words akros (at the end) and stichos (line). Unlike the first two poetry types, it doesn’t implement a strict syllable count. It doesn’t even need to rhyme.
The only thing you need to ensure is that the first letter of each line must form a word or phrase when you read it vertically. It’s also known as a name poem because most poets and authors construct the poem with people’s names. One good example of an acrostic poem is written by Edgar Allan Poe, which he dedicated to his cousin Elizabeth Herring.
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.
10.4 Free Verse
The type of poetry that has no formula, rhyme scheme, or pattern to implement. It simply follows the natural speech rhythms. If you think it’s a modern form of poetry, you are mistaken.
Even free verse is often used in contemporary poetry, it has been around for hundreds of years. The key to writing engaging free verse is choosing words that cause your heart rate to increase. Anger, anxiety, and new love are a few of the emotions you can use.
Also, you need to use alliteration. It’s a literary device that uses a series of words that share the same first consonant sounds. The Sonnet 5 by William Shakespeare features alliteration.
Beauty o’er-snowed and bareness every where:
Then were not summer’s distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty’s effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
11. Compile All Your Works As A Chapbook
A chapbook is a pamphlet that contains 15 to 30 poems. I suggest it because of its portability and personal features. You can immediately take it out when inspiration strikes you (act as your poetry diary) no matter where you are.
You can also create a digital and printed version of your chapbook. It is an excellent way to easily share it with your loved ones (online and offline).
12. Personalize Your Communications To Increase Customer Retention
Celebrating special occasions with people you care about forms a memorable and lasting bond. National Poetry Month may not be as special as other occasions, but it is still an excellent opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers.
There are many customer retention strategies you can implement, and you can start by personalizing your communications. You can send your prospects, newly-signed members, and patrons emails reminding them about the importance of National Poetry Month. Inside your email, you can offer different perks to increase the engagement rate.
- Sign-up for the newsletter to receive daily poems
- Promote product recommendations that include a freebie related to the occasion
- Provide limited-time sale offer
It’s also ideal for sending reminders to your customers about their abandoned shopping carts. Offer them a giveaway or discount when they complete their purchase. If you plan to organize a big event or promotion, ensure that your Java developers or web experts sync your web and mobile app (if there are any) to have a seamless user experience.
13. Host A Special Webinar Series
Here’s another effective method to help your business grow – webinars. Hosting webinars are proven effective in building your B2B email list and strengthening customer loyalty. Since the webinar’s purpose is to educate customers, you can host a special webinar series to increase the appreciation and awareness of poetry and poets.
You can start the series by introducing all recognized poets and their contributions (local and international). You can also feature a poet and show your audience a video of their lecture or poetry recital. If the budget allows it, you can invite some of them to share their experiences and tips on writing better poems.
Another good idea for a webinar is a poetry workshop. Teach kids, teens, and adults the proper way to write a poem. Whichever event you host, ensure to convert the series into an on-demand webinar for the audience to get access at a later time.
National Poetry Month may be an annual event, but remember that poetry is part of our everyday life. It allows us to creatively express our feelings about nature, happiness, love, and painful experiences. It also helps us uncover the beauty of all creations, no matter how small.
There are more fun ways to celebrate this occasion. If yours are not included in the list, share it with us in the comment section.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. Follow Burkhard on his journey from $0 to $100,000 per month. He’s sharing everything he learned in his income reports on Novum™ so you can pick up on his mistakes and wins.
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