Celebrate National Poetry Month

Celebrating Literacy

For over a decade during the month of April, the Thank You Darlin’ Foundation has celebrated National Poetry Month, one of the largest literary celebrations in the world by showcasing the voices of phenomenal urban youth.  National Poetry Month was formed by the Academy of American Poets in April of 1996 to increase participation and fondness for the art. I say, hurray!  I love poetry because it can pack a punch, sooth an aching heart, cause hilarious laughter, or paint a perfect picture using only one word.

Although poetry is powerful and one of the four main literary genres, young students rarely receive opportunities to explore its figurative curves, lines and verses, or intricate metaphors inside traditional classrooms.  At least that was the case, until in 2004 when the Thank You Darlin’ Foundation got the idea to build literacy skills in youth using poetry writing and performance.  Since that time, we’ve introduced many to the poems of Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstein, Nikki Giovani, Mariam Williamson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and the list goes on. We took action and offered special opportunities where kids could feel safe discovering their voices and express themselves.  Thus far, I’ve seen affection for the art grow immensely.  Perhaps, in addition to making it more accessible, a growing awareness has occurred that poetry is much more than entertaining, it’s a useful tool for cultivating academic literacy as well as emotional literacy.

How You Can Celebrate National Poetry Month

With that said, there are lots of ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month.

  • Hold a community open mic,
  • Buy one of our poetry books and read the poems out loud with a friend,
  • Go to a spoken word performance,
  • Take part in slam poetry (a poetry writing and performance competition), or
  • Submit one of your original poems to be considered for publication in our annual youth poetry anthology.

Whatever you do, find a way for you and your friends to celebrate National Poetry Month!


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