by Shari Randall
Occasionally I miss my old library job, especially now as we move toward April because April is National Poetry Month.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, my library branch always put together displays of poetry books, decorated the building with posters of poems and poets, and reveled in poetry. One year we even provided “pocket poems,” copies of poems on little slips of paper that patrons could carry with them, ready for reading at a moment’s notice.
During the other eleven months of the year, books of poetry languished on our shelves, the exception being children’s poetry. You just can’t keep poetry by Shel Silverstein on the shelf. But in April readers who never thought of themselves as poetry lovers would stand at the book display, dip into an anthology for a moment, and find themselves standing in the same spot for ten minutes, captivated by a poem. The book displays that we feared wouldn’t move had to be restocked over and over.
What does National Poetry Month have to offer Writers Who Kill? Poets and writers both work with words, obviously. Both move “in the world by means of words” as poet June Jordan said. Novelists can learn so much from poets, who distill emotions and events into just the right words, economy and power being their stock in trade. Of all the things I do in order to become a better writer – taking classes, reading expert advice, studying classic novels – reading poetry teaches me things I didn’t even know I needed to learn.
So celebrate poetry. Check out what our fellow wordsmiths are doing at poets.org. And keep a poem in your pocket.
Two links to explore:
What is a Poem? By Dan Rifenburgh
Do you have a favorite poem or poet?