But why have a “National Poetry Month”?
The mainstream and popular activities in American culture don’t have, or need, a “national month.” You won’t see a “National Watch TV Month,” or a “National Football Month” because those are activities that people engage in without encouragement or convincing.
“Black History” and “Women’s History” months represent a subjugated sub-culture of American life. Never mind that women make up more than fifty percent of the American population and are therefore a majority. The fact is that the histories of these two groups was probably under- appreciated at some time, at least enough for someone to think that it may help to make a “Month” for their groups.
Poetry too is a ghettoized genre of American reading. It seems that most people respect poetry, are perhaps a little afraid of it, think that it’s beyond them, it’s boring, etcetera. So in order to sell more books of poetry, the AAP created “National Poetry Month” to bring poetry into the National Spotlight of the Under-Appreciated. It’s too bad that most of the poetry that they promote is of the vaguest and most unappealing kind being written. It’s necessary, though, when listening from their local shopping mall, for people to be able to fully understand a poem by hearing it only once. Any poems that require deeper readings to unlock their hidden treasures would be unsuited to the task of providing background noise while people pound down Big Macs in the food court.
I think the problem is that poetry is not mainstream, and that pushing it into the socio-cultural consciousness has little to no effect. It makes us feel more sophisticated, I suppose, like for a month we are all aficionados of great literature. I like this little merry poetry month for perfectly selfish reasons: it reminds me to write more (or at all, ahem), and it motivates me sufficiently to actually not make as many excuses (too busy, too tired, want a Big Mac) and just get cracking. :)
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I like April as Poetry Month also. I did not necessarily agree with what was said by Jough above but I admire his delivery. He has a bombastic politically incorrect style that is refreshing. To be honest, this year feels like a let-down to me. I try to fake interest in the ridiculous prompts but in the end they just prove to me that Liberal-progressive Globalist esthetics are absurd and insipid at the same time. It’s as if no one has anything to actually SAY in a poem. It’s all form and no function, and it reflects a lost society where no one dares attack any idea as erroneous. I think it makes for dull poetry, personally (and Art in general).
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I struggle with that a little, too — it is fun to explore this form or that, or write some silly verses, but — not to outsource the responsibility for having something to say — what I need help with is something that prompts me to think outside my box, so that I don’t keep endlessly repeating myself. In other words, a few more substantial prompts would be nice! :)