CULTURE | How Are You Celebrating National Poetry Month?
While April is jam packed with events (Easter, Taxes, April Fools Day, Confederate History Month), here at North Atlantic Books we wanted to remind you it is also the annual National Poetry Month! Started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase appreciation for this art form in the United States, it has grown into thousands of events, contests, and articles. Keep reading for a list of suggestions on how you can take part in the Poetry month celebrations.
- National Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 18th: Select your favorite poem; carry it with you to share with your co-workers, friends, and family. You can also share it on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
- Dear Poet Project: Designed to engage younger fans of poetry, this project opens the door for them to correspond with the poets on the Board of Chancellors at the Academy of American Poets. This is especially useful for teachers and tutors working with children, as it provides a platform to engage students and inspire a love for poetry!
- Follow the 30 Poets/30 days blog, which will provide a new children’s poem every day of April!
- Build a Poetree!
- Watch one of the Favorite Poem Project Videos. This inspiring program has short clips of Americans reciting and speaking personally about their favorite poem.
- Participate in the annual NYC Poetweet Contest! Hosted by the NYC’s Mayor’s office, this annual contest publishes the winning poet on the NYC Metro. Simply tweet your poem with the hashtag of #NYCpoetweet. See the official website for rules and regulations.
- Check out the free PoemFlow App on your smartphone, which provides a new way to experience poetry!
- There are many other ways you can get involved and engaged with this month long celebration of poetry here: http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41
Now to get your poetry juices flowing is a piece by North Atlantic Books award winning author Kenneth Irby!
Our Conversation is In Heaven (From the Book: The Intent On)
The friend who came to dinner has gone home
late night the streets full of sycamores holds all the spaces
held in our speaking- the conversation in the room
gone into the yard’s opening, the long now pauses
between the phrases remembered, the alterations of cells
the body’s answerings, long off echoes felt halfway to speaking
farting, getting up to go upstairs to bed
New Jersey stretches away all trees out the attic window
only able to see the streecorner’s lights
only nearby, scattered up through the leaves
shifting slightly in endlessly connecting directions
as all the turns, half bits of thoughts started
abrupt, talking to John tonight, Jim and Angela
held and encountered, relaxed and begun again
laughing out in the middle of the living room
the light would break in all the windows of the house
if we looked at it once, would break in our eyes like window panes
that as we turn disjointed and uncertain
at even the next word, to make any connection
-11 Sept 1966
***Winner of Poetry Society of America’s 2010 Shelley Memorial Award***
Kenneth Irby has practiced his craft at the center of the American poetry scene for decades, yet is little known to the mainstream. An associate of the legendary Black Mountain poets as well as of the celebrated seventies L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E group of literary experimenters, he was a close colleague of writers such as Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, and Robert Creeley. This comprehensive collection marks the first time the full range of Irby’s artistry has been presented in one place.
Irby’s early career, starting in the 1960s, paralleled the late Beat era and the counterculture, and his blend of innovative wordplay with personal and political themes made him an important voice of that era. At the same time, he was able to forge his own path, conjuring a style that was both universal and distinctly American. Critics and other poets especially have noted his avant-garde use of sound, silence, and unusual sentence structure to seduce readers. His surprising, incantatory style conjures the feel of jazz in a striking blend of heart and mind. As poet Robert Kelly has observed, “No one . . . has ever rooted down and plumbed the mystery of American places, land, name, history of our taking space, as Irby does. No one . . . has so clearly articulated the living fact, that America is an intelligent thing, and that . . . each human being has a root awareness of the inadequacy of this place, and that is vision.”