National Poetry Month was created in part to recognize how vital poetry is to our culture. National Poetry Month 2021 marks 25 years of the celebration!
Last year’s celebration was marred by cancelled events and last-minute adjustments. I shared poems while working behind the scenes to help take our very much in-person Poetry Society chapter virtual. (And, like millions of others, I paced the confines of my residence and baked a lot of bread.)
This year feels different. We know more about COVID-19, and although it is still impacting the world’s largest celebration of poetry, the poetry world has adapted. Virtual readings and events abound.
There’s no wrong way to celebrate National Poetry Month 2021. I’m exploring the work of others online, mostly in virtual events. I also set my sights on service this year by giving back to poetry and writing communities as best I can locally and beyond. So far, I have teamed up with fellow Poetry Society of Tennessee – Northeast (PST-NE) chapter members in service. Last week we shared with Lost State Writers Guild members how poetic elements can positively impact prose. This week we spoke with ETSU creative writing students about our society. I also wrote a poem to commemorate the renovation of a local business: Results Salon and Spa (stylist Kelly rescued my hair from a desperate state years ago).
Other service centered on social media, including the launch of PST-NE’s Instagram platform. You can find the chapter on Facebook and Instagram: @poetrysocietytnne. If you’re looking for daily poetry, head on over to their Facebook page: at least one poem will be posted every day. They are also sharing recordings of poets reading their poetry or talking about their craft. If you’re looking for ideas to get connected to poetry and poets, check their Instagram account for an idea a day all month long.
Attend an Event
You don’t have to look far to find a reading or other poetry-related event this month. I ran across a University of Kentucky visiting writer series event where poet Li Young Lee shared new work for a forthcoming book and delved into his practice and his current obsessions: love, trade, economics and more.
Future events this month include a reading by PST-NE member Ben Weakley the evening of April 12 in a collaboration of Community Building Art Works and The Bowery Poetry Club. ETSU holds its annual Literary Festival April 20 and 21. For information on these and other events, check out their April event roundup. To learn what’s happening in the local poetry community (and beyond), subscribe to their blog.