National Poetry Month is celebrated every April and reminds us that poets have an essential role in our culture and that poetry matters. Launched in 1996, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world. It’s an opportunity to celebrate such an expressive art form.
Poetry helps us to appreciate the world, as well as bring attention Poetry helps us appreciate the world and brings attention to things that need more understanding or compassion. Typically, we think of poetry as boring or nerdy but, this month allows us to change our perspectives and look to poetry as a rhythmic art of expression.
The success of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March led to the initiation of National Poetry Month in April by the Academy of Poets. The first-ever National Poetry Month was celebrated in 1996, but the history of poetry itself goes back thousands of years.
Poetry is a form of storytelling. It used to be a popular way to share stories about history through ballads. These ballads were used to announce the news to kingdoms. An ode, a lyrical poem, serves to glorify an event or person and was used to tell stories about victories.
Other genres of poetry came forth: epic, comic, and tragic. These paved the way for poetry to expand throughout Europe. Modern poetry includes various forms and genres from different cultures and pasts.
I was introduced to poetry when I was eight years old, by my Nana. She wrote poetry and often recited it at church and in different groups she belonged to. Nana loved writing poetry and shared that with me. She would always buy me those black and white composition books and told me I could write about anything I wanted. I found such freedom in that, as I was a shy child. I also found it a challenging to see how I could make words rhyme.
The first poem I ever read and memorized was Maya Angelou’s, Phenomenal Woman. I was probably in seventh grade, and I remember reading it over and over again. It was the way it made me feel. Her words from her were confident and made me feel proud. It still gives me that feeling to this day.
Poetry has always been an outlet for me; a space where I can go to lay my burdens down on the page. I have the power to create worlds, inspire, persuade, and educate. It allows me to say things, in my own way, that people will feel and be changed by it.