This special guest post comes from Jonie McIntire, Poet Laureate of Lucas County, Ohio.
April is National Poetry Month and what a glorious month it is! For those who write and read poetry, you know this month brims with events and writing challenges, readings and opportunities. And for those who do not, who perhaps think that poetry is something dusty and old, condemned to a life of rhyme and meter, then this is the month to learn something true. Poetry is storytelling. It is a psalm you repeat on Sundays. It is praise for common and uncommon things. It is a love affair with language, with music and silence, with earth and sky. The beauty of poetry is that it can lead you anywhere, it can give you a way to talk about the hardest things. June Jordan knew it when she said “Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.” Not the truth like a documentary, but the truth like a diary made of muscle and blood and a broken-open lock. The truth like a moment trapped in your dream remembered and waiting for voice. And here’s the thing, the house of poetry has an infinite number of rooms. It can be visual, performance-based, formal, political, silly, reverent, and more. Why you can go through the 800s at the library and poetry is scattered all over Dewey’s decimal system! It can’t be contained. So take this opportunity to find something new! If you are a reader, hit the 800s and pick out some books of poetry at random. Flip to page, let’s just say, 18 and read what’s there. Now 55. Now 106. Now the last page. Now the same pages but in another book. If you are an educator, check out “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Classroom” at Poets.org. Frankly, this is a great list for anyone who is interested in learning more about poetry. There’s also a list for just everyone.Poetry, as it turns out, is a living community. So, get out and find some poets in your area. For Northwest Ohio, Toledo Poet has a calendar of events you can check to find poetry events near you. Ohio Poetry Association, a state-wide nonprofit and part of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, brings together poets from all walks of life for events all over Ohio. Check out Ada Limon, our national Poet Laureate, and Kari Gunter-Seymour, the Poet Laureate of Ohio. What are they writing, what are they reading? Also, join us at the Library for WritersShop Writing Workshops on the final Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. You will be amazed to find how alive and vast the world of poetry is!
And if you’re looking for a great volume of poetry to read, try a few of the following: