April showers bring May flowers…and also meter, verse and rhyme. Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is held each April. The mission of this 30-day campaign is to promote poetry as a living art form, as well as remember our poetic heritage. Much of our oldest surviving literature — including epic works like The Odyssey, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh — are recorded in poetic verse. Likewise, today’s hip hop artists like Kendrick Lamar win praise for composing complex rhymes and delivering them with a melodic flow.
We celebrate National Poetry Month with a poetry-writing contest for teens and adults. Now in its sixteenth year, our 2014 contest runs through April 22 (which also happens to be Earth Day).
Kids can participate in our annual Poetry Scavenger Hunt in KidSpace–hunt down 20 poems and win a prize.
Looking for more ways to celebrate? Peruse a few favorite resources, or check out a local poetry slam.
Poets.org (National Academy of Poets): Find a fresh way to celebrate poetry every day of April, from putting a poem in your pocket to visiting a poetry landmark.
Poetry Foundation: A great source for poems by many poets (alive and dead) on a variety of topics. Check out the podcasts, reading guides, poets & poems featured in Poetry magazine, and the cartoon gallery.
Rap Genius: Music is poetry, too. Listen to your favorites and then see if you can uncover the hidden meanings.
Rhyme Zone: Working on a poem and stumped on a rhyme? Try out this dictionary & thesaurus.
Local Poetry Slams
Chicago Slam Works: Famous for the long-running Uptown Poetry Slam, this non-profit also produces LitMash, a new monthly show.
Louder Than a Bomb: Founded in 2001, this is the largest youth poetry festival in the world.