February 26, 2004--On April 1, 2004, the Academy of American Poets will launch a web-based National Poetry Almanac that will provide 365 days' worth of poetry highlights, activities, ideas, and history for individual exploration and classroom use. "The National Poetry Almanac will help extend the celebration of poetry from April to all year round," observes Executive Director Tree Swenson. The Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month in 1996.

National Poetry Almanac

The National Poetry Almanac will be a year-long promotion (and ultimately, a permanent resource) available exclusively online at the Academy's award-winning website, www.poets.org.

Readers of the Alamanac in April will discover 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. During the month on Poetic Schools & Movements, visitors can find out more about the Beats, the New York School, Black Mountain poets, among others. Poetic forms & techniques such as the sonnet, the sestina, and the ghazal will be explained and illustrated during the year, while poems for all occasions, including weddings and funerals, will be recommended. Visitors to poets.org during April will be invited to nominate their favorite poetry landmarks, like the birthplaces of Langston Hughes and Robert Frost.

  • April: 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
  • May: Poetic Schools & Movements
  • June: Beach Reading: Great Poetry Anthologies
  • July: Summer Blockbusters: Poetry on the Radio & at the Movies
  • August: Road Trip! Poetry Landmarks across the U.S.A.
  • September: Poetic Forms & Techniques
  • October: Great Poetry Debates, Manifestos, & Criticism
  • November: I Hear America Singing: Poetry & Music
  • December: Poetry Says It Best: Poems for All Occasions
  • January: Cabin Fever: Indispensable Poetry Online Resources
  • February: Cross-Pollination: Poetry & Art
  • March: American Masterpieces: Groundbreaking Books of Poetry

PLEASE NOTE: Sample Almanac pages for the media will be available in mid-March. Contact Charles Flowers at [email protected] for more information.

Free Poster Designed by Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser, the renowned graphic artist who created the iconic "I Love New York" campaign in the 1970s has contributed a design for the National Poetry Month 2004 poster. Each April, the Academy creates and distributes--for free--almost 200,000 official National Poetry Month posters to U.S. schools, libraries, bookstores, and community centers to help promote the month-long celebration and to increase poetry awareness.

Poetry & The Creative Mind: April 6

On April 6, the Academy will host its second annual benefit, "Poetry & the Creative Mind," co-chaired by Jorie Graham and Rose Styron with honorary chair Meryl Streep, and featuring some of America's leading artists, scholars, and public figures reading favorite poems. Kevin Kline, Mary-Louise Parker, Wynton Marsalis, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Diane Sawyer, Vanessa Redgrave, and Cynthia Rowley will be among the special guest readers. This benefit was conceived as a celebration and exploration of the ways in which poetry helps shape America's culture by inspiring individuals in other fields. This event will take place at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, in New York. Tickets ($35, $50, and $75) are available by calling (212) 721-6500.

The Academy's National Poetry Month Reading Series

In association with Poets House, the Academy is proud to present a series of readings co-sponsored by publishers who support National Poetry Month. All readings begin at 7:00 p.m. in the library at Poets House, 72 Spring Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY, 10012. Events are free to Academy and Poets House members; tickets are $5 for others and are available only at the door. For more information, please call (212) 274-0343, ext 10.

  • March 29: Thomas Lux, Spencer Reese, & Michael Ryan (Houghton Mifflin)
  • April 8: Nicholas Christopher & Philip Schultz (Harcourt)
  • April 12: Celia Bland, Eloise Bruce, Catherine Doty (CavanKerry Press)
  • April 20: Quincy Troupe, Kyle Dargan, Tyehimba Jess, & T. J. Anderson III (Cave Canem)
  • April 21: Mary A. Koncel & Melissa Hotchkiss (Tupelo)
  • April 26: A celebration of John Greenleaf Whittier & Kenneth Fearing
  • with Brenda Wineapple & Robert Polito (Library of America)
  • April 27: Meena Alexander & David Yezzi (Northwestern University Press)
  • April 28: Lucie Brock-Broido & Deborah Digges (Knopf)

Poem in Your Pocket Day: April 30

New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Education are joining forces to celebrate April 30 as Poem In Your Pocket Day, co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. All New Yorkers will be encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket on that day and to share it with friends, family, and coworkers. Other cities are encouraged to adopt Poem In Your Pocket Day in their own communities. For complete details, please visit the official New York City website and poets.org.

Thousands of National Poetry Month events can be found at the Academy's National Calendar of Events.

Special events of the National Poetry Month 2004 celebration include:

Poets House Annual Poetry Publication Showcase

The only event of its kind, the Poetry Publication Showcase (April 3-April 30) is an annual exhibit of more than 2,000 new poetry books and a festival of events celebrating the diversity of poetry in print. This year's Opening Day Gala will be held on April 3, 2004, at 72 Spring Street, New York City, 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit www.poetshouse.org, or call 212-431-7920.

The Sixth Annual Young People's Poetry Week

Young People's Poetry Week (April 12-18) is a national celebration sponsored by the Children's Book Council that highlights the value of poetry for children and young adults by encouraging the public to bring more poetry into the home, the classroom, and childcare centers. Jane Yolen is the Young People's Poetry Week poet for 2004 and from April 1-30, 2004, young people can e-mail questions to Jane about her poetry and her work in general. Questions can be sent to [email protected], and Jane's answers will be posted on the Children's Book Council website. For more information, please visit www.cbcbooks.org or www.janeyolen.com.

Shel Silverstein on Noggin Television

HarperCollins Children’s Books and Noggin Television, with the help of the Academy of American Poets, are partnering to celebrate this legendary children’s poet. During April, Noggin Television will broadcast animations of four Shel Silverstein poems, including "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too." For more information, visit www.noggin.com and www.shelsilverstein.com.

National Poetry Month on UCTV

Tune in to University of California Television (UCTV) every Thursday and Friday evening in April beginning at 8:00 p.m. (Pacific) for a unique selection of culturally diverse poetry-related programs ranging from intimate interviews to dramatic readings, including appearances by renowned poets such as Billy Collins, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Li-Young Lee, Angela Jackson, Dana Gioia, Jane Hirschfield, and Cornelius Eady, among others. For a complete program schedule, visit www.uctv.tv/poetry. For additional information, contact Alison Gang, Communications Manager at (858) 822-5060 or [email protected].

Neruda Centennial

One hundred years after his birth, Pablo Neruda's poetry is as vital and beloved as ever, and several major projects are launched this spring to celebrate his centennial.

  • ¡NERUDA! ¡PRESENTE!: Mark Eisner, in association with Fundación Pablo Neruda, Stanford's Center for Latin American Studies, the Universidad de Chile, and the Chilean Presidential Commission on the Pablo Neruda Centennial, has created a documentary film on Neruda's life. Famed Chilean author Isabel Allende will narrate the story. For air dates, times, and locales, visit www.nerudadoc.org.
  • THE ESSENTIAL NERUDA: This collection presents fifty of Neruda's most essential poems in dynamic new translations, the result of an unprecedented collaboration among a team of poets, translators, and Neruda scholars, including Alistair Reid, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Haas, Forrest Gander, Stephen Kessler and Jack Hirschman. It is edited by Mark Eisner, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti will provide an introductory note. For more information, visit www.citylights.com.
  • Dialogue Through Poetry is encouraging communities across the globe to hold Pablo Neruda literary readings, conferences, and events between March and July 2004. For more information, please contact Larry Jaffe, International Readings Coordinator, at [email protected].