Thursday, April 01, 2010

Welcome to National Poetry Month!

I know, I know. Every day should be National Poetry Day, but in the meantime: "Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events." 

Most of them, pretty good! :)

My approach to poetry obliges me to recommend trying to read at least one new poem a day, but even better, write one and read one aloud. Buy a book of poetry, or at least check one out of the library. Why not also subscribe to a journal of poetry or attend at least one reading in your city?

Among poets I consider significant early influences: Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, Yusef Komunyakaa, Heather McHugh, Adrienne Su, Leonard Cohen, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Pablo Neruda, Nicanor Parra and Shuntaro Tanikawa.

Books of poetry from recent few years I've particularly enjoyed are Jeffrey Yang's An Aquarium, Cathy Park Hong's Dance, Dance, Revolution, Barbara Jane Reye's Poeta En San Francisco, Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth, Oscar Bermeo's Palimpsest and John Calvin Rezmerski's What Do I Know?

I wish it wasn't hard to get copies of most of them, but that's the hazard of our craft.

As always, for writers looking for journals to submit to, I recommend looking at the journals listed in They're excellent places to start. Don't be afraid to contribute to local poetry journals either, or even start your own!

In 2010, I think a poet to watch is Katie Leo. She's been doing some great work and I'll really be looking forward to seeing a full book of hers come out one day. And big congratulations as well to Julian Hines, who recently released his new chapbook!

I expect 2010 will continue to be a great year for poetry. Keep writing!

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