April is National Poetry Month. This “tradition” was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets.
I guess the idea was to hook people’s love of targeted celebrations to poetry. April seems to have been chosen because it followed Black History Month (February), and Women’s History Month (March), and because it did not include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, was during the school term (schools are natural candidates for the celebration of poetry), but not at the busy beginning of the school term, or at its tousled end. (Of course, Easter and Passover sometimes fall in April, but as religious holidays, these are not big competitors for concentrated school celebration time.)
April may have also been chosen because it already reverberates with specific poetic associations. Yes, it’s the cruelest month, but it also (and perhaps more popularly) hosts “shoures soote.” It’s (presumably) when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, and at least one of the times when it pleured in Verlaine’s coeur.
April also seems to be a popular month for relatively new, made-up, sorts of holidays like April Fool’s Day, Professional Administrative Assistant’s Day (the fourth Wednesday) followed by Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day (the fourth Thursday, perhaps intended as payback to Administrative Assistants), Earth Day (April 22nd), Tax Day (April 15th). While “Tax Day” is not exactly a holiday (unless standing in a long line at the post office is your idea of a good time), it is a day of national observance.
Then there are other newish April holidays that seem too obscure to warrant mention, but are just too goofy to leave out: Zipper Day, National Honesty Day (date of George Washington’s inauguration), Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day, National Pineapple-Upside-Down-Cake Day, National Read a Road Map Day, and, my personal favorite No Housework Day (April 5th), which also falls on World Health Day. (In keeping with these holidays, April is also Stress Awareness Month.)
In celebration of National Poetry Month (and perhaps also Stress Awareness Month), I am proposing to replace the daily ruminations I post on this blog with a new poem, or truly, the draft of a new poem, each day of the month.
This will be an interesting exercise for me; and I hope you’ll find it one as well. It is intended to follow up on the various posts about blocking writer’s block, the theme being how to write poetry with no clear inspiration other than a (relatively short) deadline.
This may also be a way of celebrating April Fool’s Day (all month long.)
If any one has topics, suggestions, poems of their own, please note them in a comment!