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April is National Poetry Month!


By Trista Herring Baughman

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established the largest literary celebration in the world, known as National Poetry Month, to celebrate the integral role of poetry and poets in our culture. This holiday is celebrated in the U.S. and Canada. There are so many benefits to reading and writing poetry! Let’s take a look at some of them. 

Some Benefits of Poetry:

  • Poetry is a universal medium of human expression that can help you communicate your thoughts and feelings and better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.
  • Examining the language, imagery, and structure of poems will develop your critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Reading, listening to, and writing poetry can be therapeutic, helping you relax and release your anxieties. 

While it is true April is halfway through, there is still time to join in the festivities! 

Ways to Celebrate:

  • Discover new poets or new styles of poetry you might enjoy. Browse your local bookstore or library (or ask your librarian for suggestions). 
  • Share old favorites with your friend, spouse, parents, or children- everyone! If you already have a favorite book of poems or poet, share them with someone. My kids and I enjoy curling up with a good poetry book (we love Jack Prelutsky, Hillaire Belloc, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert Louis Stevenson–I could go on).  It brings back cherished memories of my own parents and older sister reading poetry to me when I was young. We recently started Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Andrew Pudewa. I cannot recommend it enough. My kids and I are memorizing the poems, and it’s inspiring us to read more by the poets of the poems we learn. But even better, it has boosted our creativity, and we have written poems ourselves. 
  • Make a National Poetry Month post on your blog. Shine the spotlight on poetry by showcasing a poet or reviewing a collection of poems you enjoy. You could share your poem(s) if you like. 
  • Donate poetry books to Little Free Libraries or classrooms. Poets, this is also an excellent way to get the word out there while making a positive difference in someone’s day! My youngest child wasn’t fond of reading in the beginning, but we found a poetry book in our local Litte Free Library that really boosted his interest. He is now officially a bookworm.
  • Write poems yourself! You can do it, too! You are never too old (or too anything) to begin. Start simple. Get a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary (you can find these online if you prefer techy solutions), grab a pen and paper (or tablet) and write. It can rhyme or not. It can be silly and fun or emotional–write what you feel! Experiment with different meters and rhyme schemes. Play around with words and phrases and let your imagination run free.  
  • Form a Group. If you are already a poet like me, why not form a poetry group to share with? Or perhaps share them with your favorite peeps.
  • Submit your poetry to an anthology or magazine for publication. For trusted places to submit, you may want to grab a copy of Poet’s Market.

One of the coolest things about reading poetry is that it makes you want to write your own. Last year I gathered some of the favorites I had written and self-published them in a children’s book called Halloween Night and Other Poems. I will share one of those poems with you below. This one actually inspired my mama to write a poem! I hope it gives you a laugh and inspires you to write, too. 

Oogly Evil Eye

“BEWARE the Oogly Evil Eye,”

I read aloud, then said,

“I wonder if this oogly eye–“

And then I fell down


If you should spot that fiendish eye,

Best hurry! Look away!

(There ain’t a single soul alive

that’s seen it to this day!)

So if you see this dreadful eye,

You should turn and flee.

Don’t read the curse aloud or you

will end up dead as me.

Need more ideas? 

  • The Academy of American Poets website is a fantastic resource for information and poetry events. It offers free resources for teachers and a free poster.
  • RhymeZone and are good tools to help you find the words you are looking for.
  • Magnetic Poetry Tiles are a fun way to kick your creativity into gear. There are tons of options out there, but the Edgar Allan Poet Kit is one of my favorites.

If you would like more on writing poetry, check out this previous post, Waxing Poetic,  by Deborah Brewer.

On behalf of Pikes Peak Writers and myself, may you have a fabulous National Poetry Month!


Trista Herring Baughman is a blogger, the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog,)  and the Managing Editor of Mississippi Folklore, a collaborative collection of Mississippi folklore and legends in a weekly blog. Her books, The Magic TelescopeHalloween Night and Other Poemsand Zombiesaurs (which she co-illustrated with her sons), can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Trista on her website for more info.

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