National Poetry Month


Another April means another month of celebrating poetry across the country. Admittedly, this surprises me every year. That many people care about poetry? Walt Whitman would slap me in the face, and he’d be right to.  But then I remember what Rainer Maria Rilke said: “For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences.”  And what Wallace Stevens said: “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” 

In light of NPM, here are a few local and national going-ons. If nothing else, reach out your hand and take one of those poems for your pocket. It may surprise you.


Charlottesville, VA

At the Central Library, 201 E. Market Street:

Poems Beget Poems: The Reading Poet, with Lisa Russ-Spaar, Wednesday, April 17, 7pm: Poet and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, Lisa Russ-Spaar will give a part reading, part talk. She will speak about how her reading inspires and is a main source for her poems.

Poetry on the Steps, April 17, 2014, 7:00 pm: Poet and founder of the MFA Program in Writing at the University of Virginia, Gregory Orr, will give a poetry reading.

Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 24, 2014: Pick a gift-wrapped poem for your pocket. Unwrap it and read it to your mom, your little brother, or a librarian – or keep it in your pocket for a rainy day.

Poem in Your Pocket Day Open-mic Poetry Reading, April 24, 2014, 7:00 pm: Meet us under the spreading oaks on the Library steps to read some of your favorite poems or something you wrote yourself, or just come to listen. Sign-up to read begins at 7 pm and will be ongoing throughout the evening. Refreshments will be served. Rain site: Children’s Room.


Online Resources:

Check out what has curated for National Poetry Month; sign up to receive a poem emailed to you daily, even engage with famous poets.

NPR’s Tell Me More kicks off its annual ode to poetry month with the Muses and Metaphor series. Throughout April the program will feature Twitter poems submitted by NPR fans and hear from poets and writers from all over the country.

Don’t forget the kids! Robert Lee Brewer, a father of five, gives recommendations of the Top 20 Poems for kids, via The Writers Digest.

Poetry Foundation is always a great source, no matter your interest.

Happy Poetry Month. Here’s one from me.



The poets scratch
pens the pines
crack bend
exposing cores
like fruit, halved

and the bodies
are solid under
a heavy palm,
firm as a door
closing on a dim
but long, long room

—Lisa A. Ryan



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