If you're anything like me, poetry collections intimidate you more than any other type of book. I'm not sure where this poetry fear starts for many of us. Perhaps from school, where we're expected to read "classic" poems, mostly by white men, from outdated curriculums that so many of us just don't relate to. Maybe it's from this widely accepted idea that poetry has to be completely broken apart to its foundations, searching for some hidden meaning in every single word, that takes away the joy of just listening to the rhythm of a poem. Whatever it is, this World Poetry Day, is the perfect time to start rethinking our collective relationship with poetry. And I've got three fun and easy ways to do it.
World Poetry Day has been celebrated every March 21 since 1999, when The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the date as a way "...to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity."
Poetry is more accessible than ever and whether you're new to the artform or are already a major fan, any of these three activities will help you make the most of celebrating the unique and ever-growing world of poetry:
Sign Up For A Poetry Newsletter
One of the easiest ways to start adding more poetry into your every day is by signing up for one of many poetry newsletters that are available on the internet.
For instance, Poets.org runs the Poem-a-Day digital poetry series, which features over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by modern poets each year. And on weekdays, the poems are even accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. This is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the world of poetry on your morning commute or just before bed.
Other great options include the PEN Poetry Series which publishes work by both emerging and established writers, and Poetry Daily, which, you guessed it, features a different poem on every single day.
Donate To A Poetry Organization
To keep poetry alive and thriving, organizations that are championing the work need support from readers. If you're determined to make poetry a part of your reading life — or if you're already a major poetry enthusiast — getting involved with literary orgs might just be the next step you need to take in your poetic journey.
PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. And The Academy of American Poets is only able to produce free and far-reaching programs and publications that champion poets with the help of individual contributors. Head to their websites to find out how else you can get involved.
Try Writing A Poem Of Your Own!
This one might not be for the faint of heart, but truly one of the best ways to get excited about poetry is to try writing one of your own. You can pick up books from poets like Ada Límon or Yrsa Daley-Ward if you need some inspiration and there are traditionally published poetry primers galore.
But you can also check out some online resources, too. Poetry Foundation has articles and podcasts that not only teach the history of poetry, but provide access to lectures, and share crucial info on writing poetry, on from the meaning of line breaks to the definition of an ode.
And if you just want to have some fun with the format? Try this Poem Generator, which will help you write everything from a sonnet to a haiku, Mad Libs style.
Or, if all else fails, simply read some poetry. Bustle has plenty of recommendations.