National Poetry Month is an annual celebration of the incredible power of poetry, organized by the Academy of American Poets and held every month of April. This year the celebration will be twenty-four years old, and it's probably safe to assume that at least a few of our readers are feeling T.S. Eliot's iconic opening words of The Waste Land.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull Roots with spring rain.
How is it poems can somehow reach into the core of what it means to be human in so few words? Perhaps poetry is what our inner-worlds truly look like, stripped away of all of our usual keeping up of appearances. As Allen Ginsburg once said, "It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does." Sometimes that world is humorous or romantic, at other times heartbreaking, and at the same time, encouraging. I do believe love is at the heart of all poetry though, which is why the Academy of American Poets' Shelter in Poems project is such a beautiful way to be involved with National Poetry Month from afar. Per their website, readers are asked "to share a poem that helps to find courage, solace, and actionable energy, and a few words about how or why it does so."
There are many ways to celebrate National Poetry Month and Shelter in Poems with us remotely from any place at any time. Both OverDrive and RBDigital are home to a diverse array of audio ebook and ebook poetry, including many titles in our newly formed American Poetry Core Collection. Cardholders can try their hand at writing their own poems with creative writing courses on Udemy. Even more poetry goodness can be found streaming over at Kanopy: SlamNation: Competing in the National Poetry Slam, Moccasins and Microphones: Modern Native American Storytelling through Performance Poetry, Bertsolari: An Ancestral Form of Basque Poetry, Self Expression Through the Spoken Word, and of course, Howl (is it 8 o'clock yet?)
Do you find shelter in poems? Are there any you especially think that Denver should be reading right now? Please feel free to share it with us below in the comments and also on the Shelter in Poems website. Recently, a coalition of poets from throughout Massachusetts created this video mass reading of "In this Place (an American Lyric)" by Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. I hope it helps to give you some hope and #ShelterinPoems.