National Poetry Month: A Campus-Wide Appreciation

Morgan Synn, Writer

The month of April is National Poetry Month, and since its establishment in 1996, it has been commemorated nationwide. From reading existing poems with friends to writing some new pieces, National Poetry Month is about immersing oneself in and celebrating poetry in all its forms.

Kent School’s John Gray Park Library has observed National Poetry Month for at least eleven years. This year, each week will present a different opportunity to appreciate poetry. During the first week of April, Book Spine Poetry was available: lining up the spines of books, students could create poetry out of the titles. The second week offered Blackout Poetry, which allowed students to create new poems by blacking out words in existing ones. Following that, the third week was Plant-A-Poem, where students planted seeds and haikus in pots. This event simultaneously celebrates Earth Day, which is that same week on April 22. Lastly, the pièce de resistance is Poem In Your Pocket Day, a nationally recognized event on April 27. Students will have poems in their pockets; they can then take them out and recite them to one another throughout the day, fostering a collective appreciation for poetry throughout campus.

Events such as Poem in Your Pocket Day are old traditions that have been passed on for years. However, part of National Poetry Month is about embracing creativity and innovation. For example, Robert Yu ’23 proposed a new idea that will be implemented this year. There will be a poem-athon (a poem marathon) during the lunch blocks of the final week of April. On the speakers, the poem Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri will be read off in large quantities, so as to finish the entire work by the end of National Poetry Month. The Student Library Advisory Committee club (SLAC) also creatively came up with the special activities for the weeks.

Mr. Joseph Russo has been working in the library for eleven years. When he was asked why he thought National Poetry Month was worth celebrating, he responded that, “At any length, poems have the power to elicit full waves of emotions and can very quickly ask — or challenge — readers to think, feel, and try to understand concepts, cultures, and perspectives that differ from their own.” He said that through looking at how “impactful” and “versatile” poetry can be, celebrating Poetry Month “allows the library to offer our community opportunities to think creatively and maybe compassionately about the ways in which words matter.”

Mr. Russo even said that he saw “at least a few people every year… who had either not liked poetry or never experienced poetry” have realized the more creative and enjoyable aspects of poetry through the library’s efforts. The “memorable” activities “bring the whole community together” and give people a chance to explore their interests, whether their initial appeal was the poetry or the candy given as a reward for their participation.

As much as students analyze writing and literature throughout the school year, dedicating a special time to focus on the expressive and beautiful poetic writing style has allowed many to stop and truly appreciate the words we read, write, and say.