Sunday, 8 April 2018

10 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

We're a week into National Poetry Month already! I've been busy playing with my magnetic poetry kit, reading poetry, and writing poetry. How are you getting involved?

If you're not sure how you can get involved, I've come up with a few ideas to help.

10 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
(Even if You're "Not Really Into" Poetry)

1. Re-read your favourite poet or discover a new favourite. 
If you're not sure what you like, start with the classics. You can find the 10 Greatest Poems Ever Written on The Society of Classical Poets website. That should give you a feel of what works for you. Remember, you don't have to love the classics, just because they're classics. National Poetry Month is about finding your own love of poetry.

2. Support a poet by buying their book.
I don't need to tell you how hard it is to be a writer. The phrase "starving artist" covers all the arts, after all. We're not just celebrating poetry this month; we're celebrating the hardworking, underpaid people creating it as well. Show your appreciation by buying a book!

Looking for a suggestion? Why not try The Beauty of the Bohemian Life or The Chaos that is Living by Meagan Earls?

3. Take a class or join a poetry workshop. 
Not into the whole being-around-a-group-of-strangers thing? I feel ya. If you're not comfortable at a physical class, why not try an online one? Sites like FutureLearn offer free, online poetry classes, many of which you can do at your own pace.

4. Watch Dead Poets Society.
There are plenty of movies out there that are either dripping with poetic influence or are based on the lives of poets. Dead Poets Society is my favourite but why not try Basketball Diaries too? Or even Shakespeare in Love? If you've got a favourite, don't forget to share so we can give it a go!

5. Attend an open mic night.
Put on your black turtlenecks, grab your berets and shades, then head down to your local open mic night. (Or, you know, just wear whatever. That's cool, too.) Read a poem of your own creation or just sit back and listen to others read theirs.

6. Read or write haiku.
Haiku has got to be some of the most accessible poetry there is. There's a strict format, which helps people who are a bit nervous about what poetry is "supposed to look like", but it's so simple to create at the same time.

Haiku is written in three lines:
1st Line: 5 syllables
2nd Line: 7 syllables
3rd Line: 5 syllables
They're mostly inspired by nature but aren't strictly limited to it. Visit for plenty of examples to inspire you.

7. Recite or write a limerick.
Limericks are just straight up fun -- so fun, in fact, that it's easy to forget limericks are poems, too. One limerick will inevitably lead to another and, soon, you've got a whole group of people laughing themselves silly. (And yet, still poetry.)

Limericks are a bit harder to tackle than haiku but their rhyme schemes make them a lot of fun to write.
1st Line: A
2nd Line: A
3rd Line: B
4th Line: B
5th Line: A
Corona Books UK have a few great limerick books to get you started. Try The Great British Limerick Book, The Oxbridge Limerick Book, or  The Scottish Limerick Book to get you started. (Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.) They're right saucy, though, so be warned. 😉

8. Enter a poetry competition.
Because why the hell not? Remember, it's about embracing poetry, not proving that you're better than everyone else. But, if you can win some fun prizes on top? Bonus.

Keep an eye out for free competitions. Unfortunately, there are a lot of poetry comps out there that charge fees and, sometimes, some of those fees can get quite steep. Submittable has a feature that lets you narrow down your search to competitions that have no fee, if that helps.

9. Listen to famous people reading famous poetry.
Listening to poetry, rather than reading it, can help if you're struggling to get into it. It really does help when you can hear the flow and cadence of the verses. I recommend this video, which offers a wide variety of poems (50!) and celebrity narrators:

10. Get busy on Twitter.
Twitter is full of tweets, posts, poems, pictures and more celebrating National Poetry Month. Head on over and get involved! Oh, and don't forget to use #NationalPoetryMonth!

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