National Poetry Month began in the US in 1996, spearheaded by the Academy of American Poets on the steps of a post office in New York City. There, the story goes, Academy staff members handed out copies of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land,” which begins, “April is the cruellest month…” to individuals waiting in line to mail their tax returns. Established in Canada in 1998, NPM now brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture.
Explore – National Poetry Month aims to celebrate poetry in all its forms: if you usually like to read formal poetry, try checking out something different like a novel in verse, or poetry that challenges and subverts forms; if you have only ever loved poetry in book form, try checking out a spoken word showcase or a poetry slam; if you’re a performance poet to your core, try diving into a chapbook and seeing the poetry light up those hand-sewn pages. And if you don’t do poetry? What better time to start than now? The internet is full of incredible lists of recommendations for every non-poetry-lover: feminist poetry, spoken word poetry, emerging poets, political poets, and more. We promise poetry isn’t dead. We promise there’s a poem just for you, and we know someone wants to help you find it.
Join the #NPM2021 Conversation! – Share your NPM activities and join the conversation by tagging us on Twitter or Instagram @CanadianPoets, and use the official #NPM2021 hashtag.
Poem in Your Pocket Day Returns – April 29, 2021 – we will celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day across Canada. The day encourages people to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.
Share and Create – NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month is a popular riff on NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing Month), although they are not officially associated with each other. Well, NaPoWriMo isn’t official at all, but it unofficially challenges writers to compose a poem a day throughout April to celebrate NPM. You can also sometimes find this challenge called 30 Days of Poetry. Many writers fall into the challenge free-form, writing about anything and everything, but others find or create guides to get them through the month: on April 1, write a poem about your childhood; on April 2, write a poem about….
Today’s Poem – Usually discoverable on social media under the hashtag #todayspoem, this initiative encourages users to share a poem—original or not—every day throughout April. You can find some readers and writers using the hashtag year-round, but its popularity surges in NPM and it’s a great way to discover new poets and performers through social media.