Bibliohio: Five ways to celebrate National Poetry Month

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Contrary to popular belief (or, at least, T.S. Eliot’s belief), April is NOT the cruelest month. Since 1996, April has been known as National Poetry Month, which makes it one of the kindest and most delightful. Here are five ways to celebrate poetry this month.

Enjoy a poetry reading or open mic. There’s the Writers’ Block Poetry All-Nighter, which runs from 8 p.m. April 10 to 2 p.m. April 11 (whew!) at Kafe Kerouac, or the Poetry Forum at Bossy Grrl’s Pin Up Joint on April 20 (featuring Lesley Jenike).

Explore and support contemporary poets (with bonus points if they’re from Ohio). Pick up a hot-off-the-press collection (try Maggie Smith’s “The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison,” Joshua Butts’s “New to the Lost Coast,” Rachel Wiley’s “Fat Girl Finishing School” or Lo Kwa Mei-en’s “Yearling”), or thumb through and subscribe to a literary journal (try Kenyon Review, Whiskey Island or the OSU-published The Journal).

Carry a poem in your pocket on April 30 for Poem in Your Pocket Day. Tote a poem you love and share it with someone else! Tweet one using the hashtag #pocketpoem. I’ll have one by Zachary Schomburg or Lucille Clifton with me on that day.

Experiment with your own writing and creativity. Write a poem on the bus, or a poem inspired by a song (helloooo, new Sufjan Stevens album!), or one from the point of view of a bench, cat or banana. Revisit an old poem and try to breathe new life into it.

Swoon your way through the Ohioana Book Festival on April 25 (from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel). At this free event, you’ll find panels aplenty, an all-day book fair, and wonderful featured writers (including David Baker, Darren Demaree, Kazim Ali and Neil Carpathios).