Celebrating National Poetry Month

By Catherine Chambers

“If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.”

– Muriel Rukeyser

As tempted as I was to write a blog post for April Fool’s Day, I decided against it in favor of another celebration starting today: National Poetry Month. Founded in April of 1996 by the Academy of American poets, National Poetry Month aims to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and encourage support for poets and poetry. (poets.org)

I had the privilege, along with Kris Castiglia, of being a co-poetry editor for the latest issue of this amazing journal. We received an overwhelming amount of work from all over the world, from every walk of life, and I want to thank submitters who entrusted us with their creations. Make sure to take a look at the incredible work in both Duende Issue 1 and Issue 2. If you haven’t by now, it's alright by me if you jump ship on this blog post. Really, go. Enjoy the Duende!

To kick off the month of celebration, fellow Duendian Amy Sterne and I will be attending a poetry reading featuring Goddard BFA Program Director Janet Sylvester, along with Goddard BFA faculty members Wendy Call, Michael Vizsolyi, and Arisa White in Montpelier, Vermont tomorrow night. To get in the spirit you could also attend a reading in your hometown, or buy a book of poetry at your local independent bookstore, or (if you’re me) curl up with the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society and cry into a pint of ice cream over the “o Captain, my Captain” scene. Poetry is for everyone and can be celebrated in just about any and every way.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I have assembled a list of the Duende Issue 3 staff’s favorite poems. Check them out! We'd love for you to share your favorite poems with us, too! Tweet us  @DuendeLiterary #SharetheDuende.

Catherine Chambers: “Twenty-One Love Poems (II)” by Adrienne Rich
Raphael Krasnow: “A Lower East Side Poem” by Miguel Pinero
Ah-Keisha McCants: “Nikki Rosa” by Nikki Giovanni
Jorn Otte: “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
Cassie Selleck: “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
Jay Sheets: “Caracol (Seashell)” by Rubén Darío
Amy Sterne: “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton
Tyler Woodsmall: “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg

Happy Reading!