Category Essay

National Poetry Month



April is national poetry month, as observed by the Academy of American Poets. 31 days dedicated to observing the importance and place of poetry in our schools, daily lives and history. It’s a great excuse to read and write lots of poetry, which, ironically enough, I’m encouraging through a piece of prose.

Leonard Cohen said, “Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” Perhaps he is right, and poetry is the ashes that pile up around us. Maybe within those ashes lie a few burning embers still.

Take some time this month to acquaint yourself with some poetry. If you are not much of a poem reader then start with the classics, whatever classic poets intrigue you. If you find do not find poetry intriguing, then look for whomever causes chills to run down your spine when you sift through the ashes you left behind.

If you are already well versed in poetry (pun intended), then try to find a new poet that is good. If you’re like me, then this will be challenging. There are dozens of resources on the Internet for finding good, new poetry. Online literary journals are a dime-a-dozen, Googlize it and you’ll find plenty out there. Not all of it is good, but there is a lot that is.

If you’re like I was, you may find poetry to be pretentious, confusing or a waste of time. Hopefully you will take the time to move past these preconceived notions and dig a little deeper. Once I did, I discovered a world that I became fascinated with.

So, I encourage you, throw away yourself and read some poetry this month. Dig through the ashes to discover those burning embers, and cling to them for dear life. Or if you feel even more adventurous, try to write some yourself. The great joy of poetry is that anyone can write it. Try it out; don’t take my word for it.