What Does “National Poetry Month” Actually Mean? I Found the Answers.


I almost forgot, but it’s National Poetry Month. How I ever went a full week without realizing it is beyond me, but here we are and here I am, apparently unscathed.

What the heck does National Poetry Month mean, anyway? Is it more inept political meddling on the part of our Do-Nothing Congress led by our Do-Demagogue President? Actually, no. National Poetry Month is the invention of the Academy of American Poets.

Which begs the question: What in the world (OK, country) is the Academy of American Poets, and why am I not an honorary member? Turns out, it is comprised of not only poets but booksellers, librarians, publishers, and teachers. Together, back in 1995, they noted the successes of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March) to plot National Poetry Month (April) beginning in 1996.

(All I can say is, “Look out, May!”)

The venerable poets.org website offered these tips on how you can celebrate the month,  but I have devised a few tips of my own:

  • Isn’t it time you memorized a poem? Pick one you like and then, in the time you would ordinarily use to check texts on your cellphone every day (about 9 hours and 36 minutes), commit it to memory, two lines at a time.
  • Read a poem aloud to someone you love. You can do it in lieu of grace some night at supper. Or instead of the maniacally-repetitious “Happy Birthday” song just before the day’s star blows out the candles and spreads his germs all over the frosting.
  • Copy a short poem onto a large piece of paper and post it at work after hours or before hours. I did this once and then, when everyone tried to figure out who did it, played dumb. It wasn’t hard. (The “playing dumb” part, not the posting a poem part.)
  • Read a book of poems. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many proud “bookworms” and self-described “readers” never read poetry. It’s a national scandal, which is why I’m leaning toward a National Scandal Month for May (and I know I’ll get cooperation from our president on that one).
  • In honor of National Poetry Month, the publisher of my first book is practically giving away my first book’s Kindle version for only three bucks. This alone is a national scandal (OK, quite localized scandal), but if it exposes more people to the radiation of my poetry, so be it.
  • Me, I like the feel of an actual book in my hands, however. I also like the National Sniff-a-Book Month (June is available) smell of its new paper and ink. And while The Indifferent World in paperback is $15.95 at amazon dot glom, I have copies for $12 each, which is something-something percent off (I hate numbers). Just e-mail me for the National-Poetry-Month deal (see “About” section above for e-mail).
  • And speaking of deals, my newest book, Lost Sherpa of Happiness, can be found on sale the same way.
  • Which can only mean that National Poetry Month is a way for poets not named Rupi Kaur to sell their books. May you wonder no longer. And if you made it this far, accept my blessings and gratitude. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to enjoy National Eat-Some-Pancakes-Drowned-in-Maple Syrup Month…

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