Celebrate National Poetry Month with song & sound -- a playlist!

It’s springtime. It’s that time of year when we shed the layers and layers of static attracting clothes, that one glove that always seems to have lost its partner and heavy socks. Boots ... well, you can wear those anytime. It’s also time to venture out, properly and consciously being respectful of others limits and sense of space, when the sounds of our neighborhoods turn from nods of recognition to smiles and eye contact. It’s National Poetry Month.


National Poetry Month shares a thread with Jazz Appreciation Month. There is a rhythm to the art forms of poetry and music sharing the same space.


What is National Poetry Month and how did it start?


According to the Academy of American Poets (a USA based membership organization, of which I am a member), National Poetry Month (NaPoMo) was “launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996… reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.”


What began as a celebration of an artform that’s been around for thousands of years has become a structured global move to highlight the Literary and Performing Arts. Lists of favorite poets, poetry books, literary accolades and who and what to read are found everywhere. Poets.org offers “A Poem a Day” straight to your inbox.


What happens during National Poetry Month?


A popular activity during the month of April is NaPoMo 30/30 (also referred to as National Poetry Writing Month), which often is a challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days, whether on your own or as part of an accountability group with prompts that can vary from words, phrases to visual arts and can range through the various forms of poetry (both topics are whole other articles).



Photo Credit: Amazon.com. Purchase the book here


Poets are a community of artists who enjoy celebrating one another, gathering and sharing poetry through open mics, show cases, book readings, festivals and writing workshops. While events occur throughout the year, April brings us out of our silos to hear and connect with one another.



Photo Credit: Google Search credits Come On and Slam! (Why Spoken Word Poetry is Important)


This community involves educators, businesses, artists, entrepreneurs. According to the American Academy of Poets “… tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets…” get involved in the activities.



Why is Poetry important?


Summer Dawn, founder and President of In Full Color, of which I am a board member, performer and active participant, asked this question of poets spotlighted during NaPoMo (check out the posts in Instagram)


Olga Levina, Creative Director of Jersey City based Jersey City Theater Center says, of poetry “Poets and poetry are a reflection of our society, speak of how things are now.” That has stuck with me ever since she shared that wisdom.


As one of the oldest artforms and a major contributor to the $900+ billion industry, the written word, in its various forms, is embedded in our everyday lives.


According to the blog Defining the Role of Poetry in Society: The Ongoing Conversation (2017) “Like society itself, it is likely that the role of poetry will be forever-changing—adapting itself to the needs of society as poets see fit, and as the human experience necessitates.”


What if I’m not a reader or unfamiliar with poetry or just don’t get what it’s all about?


There are a lot of stereotypes and biases related to poetry. That’s another article… or a book Poetry has found its way to mainstream media through movies, TV shows and music. Take a moment to reflect that music with lyrics is poetry set to rhythms. We remember things better when there is music. So, when you’re singing along with your favorite RAP, HipHop, Bolero, Salsa, Merengue, Jazz joint, you’re reciting poetry.


Photo Credit: Teachers Pay Teachers website


This brings me to point of this article. Most of the lists and articles published are about “poets to read”,,“poetry books to buy,” “poets you should know,” etc. As an artist and entrepreneur, I strongly encourage everyone to support the artists in your life. Artists contribute to mental health wellbeing, give voice to those uncomfortable things we sometimes can’t bring ourselves to discuss, provide an artistic perspective to life and, in most cases, are our friends. So, yeah, support living artists. Welcome to my 30/30 for 2022 National Poetry Month.