April was declared National Poetry Month 17 years ago by the Academy of American Poets. I’m lucky enough to know Jennifer Benka, the Academy’s executive director, and I was thrilled to hear her on PBS the other day. I was excited that she didn’t focus on all the reasons that poetry is important! meaningful! crucial!. Instead, she focused on the fact that poetry is a vibrant and undeniable part of American culture. As Jen said, ‘Anytime poetry receives attention someone claims that it has died, which is not at all true, in fact resoundingly the opposite.’
Poetry is more entwined in the lives of children than it is in most of our lives but there are always ways to infuse our family lives with more poetry–and this year I’m hoping that everyone will get out and WRITE some poems.
In case you need some inspiration, the library has three great books to get you started:
Local poet, teacher and parent Karen Benke‘s books are packed with inspiration: Rip the Page! Adventures in Creative Writing and Leap write in! Adventures in Creative Writing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h & surprise your one-of-a-kind mind.
I’m also a huge fan of Don’t Forget to Write: 54 enthralling and effective writing lessons for students 6-18 developed by the local literacy powerhouse 826 Valencia.
For inspiration I’ve been turning to this poem a lot lately. It was sent to me by a poet friend who was sent it by a poet friend who got it from a friend . . . . you get the picture. We don’t know the original author, simply that is is ‘A poem by Juliet on the eve of her 5th birthday.’