April is National Poetry Month and teachers and librarians across the country are planning poetry slams, open mic nights and displays for National Poem in Your Pocket Day, including the Media Center here. According to poets.org, “National Poetry Month each April is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.”
The Media Center is hosting an open mic lunch where students can read, rap or sign their original or favorite poems. The event has been postponed to an undetermined date. “We wanted to host an event that was fun and interactive with the students and we thought along the themes of poetry jams,” media assistant Pauline Griffith said.
Performers have signed up to share what they love with their classmates, friends and teachers. “I decided to participate in the poetry slam not only to share one of my favorite poems, but also to watch other people’s pieces and the perspective they chose to take,” sophomore participant Rathna Ramesh said.
Those involved like poetry for different reasons. “I love poetry because whether it’s an original piece or it’s written by someone else, the inflection and gestures used in the performance can put an entirely different spin on it,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh will be performing the poem “If I Should Have a Daughter” by Sarah Kay, which is a spoken word poem originally performed at TED2011 that details Kay’s intention to be there, should she have a daughter.
Poetry is pervasive. “It’s a modern form of expression. If you look at rap music and works like the recent play, Hamilton, it’s all poetry so I think it’s something that’s underrated right now,” Griffith said.
Student may want to read poetry, but don’t know where to start. “My favorite two poets are Sarah Kay and Rudy Francisco. I like how Sarah Kay’s poems reflect common serious themes but she also has a little bit of the humorous aspect that Rudy Francisco uses in his poetry. Unlike a lot of slam poetry, these two poets take a more optimistic viewpoint and use their experiences as learning opportunities which I think is admirable,” Ramesh said.
Another recommend poet is Rupi Kaur, particularly her book of poetry The Sun and Her Flowers. “She’s young, she’s an immigrant, she’s Canadian, she’s a really powerful feminist so it’s a really interesting perspective and her poems are nice and short. It makes you think,” Griffith said.
Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith has selected 25 poems for the Academy of American Poets April Poem-A-Day series. “I’m honored and excited to curate the month of April for Poem-a-Day, a series that shares the good news of poetry every single day, even covering the spaces, like small towns or rural communities, that poetry festivals and reading series sometimes fail to reach,” Smith said to broadwayworld.com.
For an easy poetry fix, pick up a poem from the display outside of the Media Center, part of the National Poem in Your Pocket Day festivities. Anyone interested in performing should sign-up in the Media Center. It’s not hard to be involved in the fun and enjoy the wonders of poetry. “Just come bring your friends and your energy,” Griffith said.