From poets across the country challenging themselves to write a poem each day in April; to skyward murals of poems on the rooftops of Miami buildings for fliers to see; to students in Seattle, many of whom are refugees, telling their personal stories through poems broadcast on public radio... National Poetry Month is an umbrella for many innovative and inspiring local celebrations of poetry, which, together, reach tens of millions of individuals. We commend all the schools, libraries, publishers, organizations, and poets that took time to promote poetry in their communities this past month. The increased visibility you brought to poetry will help spark an interest in the art form that carries forward into the year and beyond. Here is just a sampling of some of our favorite events that took place in April 2016.
NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April (30 poems in 30 days).
O, Miami Poetry Festival
Every April, O, Miami attempts to deliver a poem to every single person in Miami-Dade County through the O, Miami Poetry Festival.
Lake Delton Elementary “Poetry Breaks”
In honor of National Poetry Month, Lake Delton Elementary in Wisconsin celebrated by having a “Poetry Break” every Tuesday in April.
WNYC Poetry Assignments
Throughout April, WNYC hosted on-air conversations with Pulitzer prize-winning poets who offered poetry prompts.
Stories of Arrival: Refugee and Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project
English Language Learner students at Foster High School in the Seattle area told their stories through poems, which they then recorded at Jack Straw Studios.
Writers in the Schools (WITS) Poet-Trees
WITS commissioned local artists to transform trees into Poet-Trees throughout downtown Houston, featuring poems by WITS students, and offering visitors a chance to write their own poems and hang them on the trees.
Portland Art Museum
On April 21, schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, across the country celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day. This year, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon celebrated by pairing four objects in their collection with four poems, and passed them along to visitors and staff. On the other side of the page, they included a prompt for visitors to write their own poems about art.
Muslim Girls Making Change
Four Vermont high school sophomores are using slam poetry to challenge stereotypes about the Muslim community. Calling themselves "Muslim Girls Making Change," they're representing Vermont at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival this summer.
Michigan State University
The RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU recognized the month through the Spring Poetry Festival, which spanned three weeks in April on Wednesdays and has been going on since 2007.
Ashland Middle School Students
In honor of National Poetry Month, middle school students handed out and recited poems to people on the streets of Ashland, Oregon.
City of West Hollywood
The city of West Hollywood celebrated National Poetry Month with a variety of public art displays, events, and workshops to honor the art of the written word, curated by the first City Poet, Steven Reigns.
The New Orleans Poetry Festival
The first annual New Orleans Poetry Festival offered a full weekend of music, panels, workshops, and readings, with the aim to enrich and enliven the poetry community by fostering opportunities for creative growth and collaboration.
Torey J. Sabatini School
Torey J. Sabatini School in New Jersey celebrated National Poetry Month by reading a poem during morning announcements each day, displaying poems around the school, and having parents hand out poems to students as they left school on Poem in Your Pocket Day.