Six Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Matchbook Poetry

 April is National Poetry Month, in case you weren’t already aware. That means that you need to break out your “I ❤ Poetry” shirts and run around, shouting your barbaric yawps for the world to hear. Inhabit coffee shops and comfy couches, where you can eat unhealthy foods until your latest poem has been carved out on an old napkin. Prose can’t always do the world justice, and poetry is a beneficial outlet for those pesky feelings and unexplainable events. Here are six ways you can celebrate this April:

 Embrace language’s intricacies.

“This word is not enough but it will

have to do.”

– Margaret Atwood in “Variations On The Word Love

It’s frustrating to experiment with meaning and words, but sometimes language can take people on unexpected adventures. These journeys are not ones to be feared; they are beautiful and expansive, shocking and imaginative. Don’t limit yourself, but don’t be afraid to let your words teach you something new, either.

Ask the tough questions.

“Does my sassiness upset you?”

~ Maya Angelou in “Still I Rise”

Part of poetry – or any kind of writing – is to ponder deep, funny, and sometimes rhetorical questions. Don’t shy from posing them. By asking, you are one step closer to an answer. At the very least, you’ve started a conversation. Writing can make a difference, so don’t underestimate its power, and keep questioning everything! If you go too far, though, you’ll have to sit with the existentialists in the other room.

 Express love in complicated and mysterious ways.

“But we loved with a love that was more than love.”

~ Edgar Allen Poe in “Annabel Lee”

Whether it’s a love note to a partner or a narcissistic declaration, poetry is a great way to show someone you love them. If you’re really in a writing mood, you can even tell them why. Maybe you like how their toes wiggle, or the side-smile they give you when they know they’ve made you mad. Get creative and weird. Make people uncomfortable, but do try to be respectful.

Tell a story that needs to be told.

“My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still.”

~ Walt Whitman in “O Captain! My Captain!”

Not every story is happy, and not every story needs a happily-ever-after. You’re the poet, and you can decide what should be said and how it should be stated. A cool thing about poetry is the ultimate freedom you have. You choose where the lines break, and enjambment – as well as so many other literary devices – shapes the poem’s tone, message, and sound. Have fun playing with your masterpiece!

Discover who you are.

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

~Emily Dickinson in “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

Poetry is not written; it is felt and lived. Try as you might, but, if you get invested in writing a poem, you will not exit the page unaffected. Poetry can help people learn more about themselves and others. People even get famous writing poetry and become superstars – but those are usually the ones who don’t care about fame. Nevertheless, poetry is an immersive process, and you’re bound to find out something interesting about yourself.

Participate in Matchbook Poetry on April 14th in Ness Auditorium at 4:15PM!

 “Enter the dark cavity of the field.”

~Jody Rambo in “Landscape Returning”

The best way to experience poetry is to try it out in new ways, and what better way is there other than sharing it with other Wittenberg students? Go ahead into the Writing Center, pick up a matchbook from the fishbowl, and write a line that you were inspired to write based off of the line that was inside the matchbook. Sometimes, it’s rewarding to hear your art come alive. Let your poem be heard and get a free button for participating!

For the love of poetry, whatever you do this National Poetry Month, at least make sure you enjoy doing it!

– Meaghan Summers ’17

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