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.