Get Inspired for National Poetry Month

Photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

April is National Poetry Month! We encourage you to participate, whether you’re a master of the sonnet or have never written a haiku in your life.

Need inspiration? Explore these poetry picks and check out our recommended resources to get started.


Seven Poets on the Verge

Getting started: The resources at Poets.org are indispensable!
national poetry month

At Vela, poet and author Maureen N. McLane shares a list of emerging female poets that have moved her, from Tonya Foster to Fiona Wilson to Erica McAlpine, whose poem “September” is excerpted below:

I will tend
the garden, but
really I am
waiting

for autumn.

Nakinisowin, Billy-Ray Belcourt

Nakinisowin is the blog of Billy-Ray Belcourt, a poet from the Driftpile Cree Nation and 2016 Rhodes Scholar-elect at the University of Alberta. On his site, you’ll find a sampling of powerful commentary and poetry, like “Love and Other Experiments.” Here’s a snippet from a recent poem called “heal myself”:

sometimes i speak
in pauses
because the silence
has always
held my hurt
better than language could

Deuxiemepeau: Picturing Poetry by D.B. Donnelly

Need a boost? The Poetry, Fiction, and Flash Fiction Events, hosted by bloggers, may have linkups and challenges — and a general camaraderie — that you might be looking for this month.

At Deuxiemepeau, Damian B. Donnelly, an Irishman living in Paris, combines imagery with poetry. Take a look at “Minutes Moving,” in which he publishes a poem on a photograph of the Arts et Métiers metro station in Paris:

Photograph by Damien B. Donnelly.
Photograph by Damien B. Donnelly.

Visual Verse

Looking for prompts all month long? The NaPoWriMo community publishes daily prompts in April.

Quick inspiration: The one-word prompts on The Daily Post offer starting points for your poems.

Each month, Visual Verse prompts authors with a single image. Submissions must be 50 to 500 words and written in one hour or less. For volume three, chapter five, a closeup image of a cat’s nose inspired poems like “Domestication” by Dana Smith, “What Evolution Has Left Us” by Alexandra Pasian, and “Maw” by Cattail Jester, excerpted below:

What started as a one-time
persona became a permanent
fixture

Now the furniture is all clawed
and my loves are scratched.

The James Franco Review

Formatting tip: Use the tools in your post editor — blockquotes, preformatted text, indents and outdents, and line breaks — to format your poem, like the one to the left.

The James Franco Review, founded by Seattle-based writer Corinne Manning and managed by a team of editors, aims to reimagine the literary and publishing world and offers a platform for underrepresented artists and narratives. Explore its poetry category, or first consider this sample from “Origami” by Natalia Mujadzic:

To fold my limbs into a white paper crane is the greatest thing I can do.

    Just watch as my sharp paper heart bends so easy, watch how flexible

         I can be. Pinch my arms and legs with your calloused fingertips

            and split my torso in two, hands and feet meet in the middle.
Photo by Barn Images (CC BY 2.0)
Photo by Barn Images (CC BY 2.0)

Tahoma Literary Review

Based in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Tahoma Literary Review publishes poetry (as well as fiction, flash, nonfiction, and flash nonfiction) three times a year. Explore the poetry category for poems as well as news and poetry commentary. For a dose, dive into Michael Schmeltzer’s “A Throwing Back.” A sampling:

So yes, despite what I said, rejection is life or death.

I didn’t want to admit this. Even in the body, the way it can throw back a life-saving transplant. Even in the mind, the way it can throw back everything imaginable until nothing is possible.

Laura A. Lord

Search tags in the Reader: Tags will hook you up with poets across genres and challenges:

#nationalpoetrymonth, #napowrimo, #poetry, #poems, #haiku, #sonnet, and more.

Laura A. Lord is the author of numerous collections of poetry and vignettes and often explores women’s issues. Browse her blog’s poetry tag to find poems on everything from grief to romance to childhood, including a recent favorite, “Suitcase,” in which she remembers her grandmother. Here’s a taste:

My grandmother saved stale bread
in a wooden box on the third shelf
in her little pantry closet. She put it
on hold, as if the bread had come to
some strange junction in its life
where famished children must wait
and watch to see what it would become.

Photo by Bart Everson (CC BY 2.0).
Photo by Bart Everson (CC BY 2.0).

O at the Edges, Robert Okaji

Blog themes for poets: Some of our favorite themes for poetry are minimal and allow your words to shine, like Minnow, Edda, Libre, Libretto, and Penscratch.

See some themes in action in our recommendations from 2015 and 2014.

Poet and author Robert Okaji shares poems and musings on poetry and language at O at the Edges. If you’re not yet familiar with his work, enjoy “Chill,” a cento (or poem made up of lines borrowed from other poets):

I shiver a little, with the evening,
and you print a shadow like a thin twig.

Wait for my death, then hear me again.
He believes a pomegranate is a thesaurus,

the thundercloud, tomorrow’s puddle. Is
this hunger unlike that of others?

When a drowning man calls out,
his voice follows him downstream.

Why am I grown so cold?


Explore all of our editors’ picks in the Poetry archive. Happy National Poetry Month!

March 31, 2016Poetry, Reading, Writing, ,