Ink, Coal, and the Telling: National Poetry Month

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine
I have been eating poetry

NPMinkThese words, from a 2014 poem by Mark Strand, appear on this year’s National Poetry Month Poster, illustrated by Roz Chast and available for free download here. (One panel at right >>>)

The Academy of American Poets calls National Poetry Month “the largest literary celebration in the world,” noting tens of millions of participants around the world. It was established in 1996, inspired by February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month.

On the Academy’s website, you will find 30 ways to celebrate the month – including instructions for playing a collaborative writing game, first developed in the 1920s called “Exquisite Corpse.” They also offer tips for teachers, many of which are adaptable for families and other multi-age groups.

Catching Up on Poem-A-Day

Some of us may be a day behind in observing this 30-day festival, perhaps caught up in April Fools’ activities or testing season in school, which leaves little time for exploring this ancient and contemporary mode of expression…or maybe busy responding to the New York education budget vote.

To help us all catch up on poem-a-day, here are a few resources and listen here for two pieces, one written for the holiday of Passover — which begins tomorrow night — and one a favorite from Audre Lorde.

Listen to “Feature Report” on Track 1 (6:45) below —

“Coal” by Audre Lorde

from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (Norton 1997).

excerpts from “Maggid: The Telling” by Marge Piercy

from The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme (Knopf 2000).

More Resources

Langston Hughes and His Poetry —

Hughes reads and comments on “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” —

Paul Fleischman created an interesting book of poems for all ages to read aloud: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Not A Rapper: Hip-Hop Education

Many more resources at the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation.

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