National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month is a literary celebration which is celebrated all over the world by millions of people. The purpose of this holiday is to mark the importance of poetry in our lives and to remember the great poets who created this poetry. This holiday started in the 1990s, due in part to the successful celebrations of Women’s History Month in March and Black History Month in February.
History of National Poetry Month
During the 1990s, Black History Month and Women’s History Month began to hit their stride and became more successful than any other time since they had been created. This gave hope to those who wanted to establish a National Poetry Month. So with that in mind, the Academy of American Poets – an organization that includes booksellers, librarians, teachers, publishers, poets and literary associations – met in 1995 to discuss the need for a month long celebration of poetry. It was determined that it would have value and the holiday was officially launched in April of 1996.
Over the years, this holiday has been not only celebrated by academics, poets and literary groups. It has also been celebrated by society in general. For instance, in 2005, the Empire State Building was illuminated to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this holiday.
Interesting Poetry Facts
- The most popular poetry form in the world is the Haiku
- The longest poem in the world is the Indian epic Mahabharata
- The shortest poem is ‘The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs’ by George MacDonald. It has just two words – “Come Home.”
- The oldest poem is the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh
- Poetry can increase your vocabulary
- World Poetry Day is March 21st
National Poetry Month Customs & Traditions
The purpose of National Poetry Month hinges on 6 key areas: 1) to highlight the achievements and legacy of American poets, 2) to encourage poetry reading, 3) to help teachers introduce poetry into the classroom, 4) to increase media coverage of poetry and poets, 5) increase publication of poetry books and 6) to increase support for poetry and the poets who produce it.
The first presidential proclamation of National Poetry Month was done in April of 1996 by President William Clinton. Since then, similar proclamations have been done by mayors and other government officials all across the United States. Also, many bookstores and classrooms all over the country, will hang up National Poetry Month posters they obtained from poets.org.
National Poetry Day is also celebrated through book fairs, conventions and other activities. However, festivities don’t have to be grandiose. People can also celebrate the day by curling up with their favorite book of poetry and letting it sweep them away.