Remember the ubiquitous ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’ verbiage? An art form, poetry can be extremely mature, obscure and thought-provoking. From Shakespearean sonnets to Japanese haikus and even the epic poems of Homer, it’s no wonder April is National Poetry Month.
A little history The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996 with the goal of introducing people to several different forms of poetry. The Academy hoped to promote the study of poetry, as well as garner greater support for the poets and increase publication. Today, thousands of people across the nation come together to celebrate the impact poetry has through festivals, events, readings and contests.
Move over, Wordsworth, these are not your grandmother’s rhymes. Spoken word poetry is a popular poetry movement sweeping across the United States. Many times, this rhetoric comes in the form of slam poetry where the recitation of the work becomes a competition. Slam poetry is a performance where the presentation of the work is just as important as the work itself – it’s like going to the theater. The artist emphasizes being seen and heard, rather than merely read on paper. The entire audience is held in rapt attention and even gets to judge the work once it has been performed.
A poet and didn’t know it
If you’re feeling creative, try to publish some of your own poetry online. There are plenty of contests and cash prizes to be won through www.poetry.com. Explore the various styles and pick the one that’s best for you. If you get a little stuck with your rhymes, don’t fret, check out www.rhymezone.com. There’s a plethora of words in their database to help sort you out and put you back on the road to poetic genius.
Poetry is also a great medium for kids to learn more about language and the world around them. Introduce them to the work of Shel Silverstein. A truly incredible author, Silverstein has written countless poems for children (and the young-at-heart). There is even a page on www.shelsilverstein.com for teachers and parents to help get kids involved with National Poetry Month. All of his poetry is fun to read and gives kids the chance to think outside-the-box and explore the possibilities their imaginations hold. H