National Poetry Month Eve

Tomorrow begins one of my personal favorite months of the year. National Poetry Month. This month has been a big part of my life for several years now, since before I even began thinking of myself as a “Poet”. I started out teaching kids about poetry and how to write it, which is so much fun. Now I’m on a different quest. I’m trying to get rid of the stigma poetry has.

Poetry is not scary.

Poetry is not boring.

Poetry is not difficult to understand (okay, some of it might be, but it isn’t necessarily hard to understand).

Reading poetry can be soothing. Listening to someone else read poetry can be very entertaining.

Writing poetry has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever attempted.

So my quest, this month and, really, always, is to convince people that poetry is accessible. It’s really a part of most of our lives, anyway. When you listen to the words of your favorite song, you’re listening to poetry. And yes, I include rap music in this. (Yes, Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature.)

This month I’m challenging myself in another way, too. I’m planning to write and illustrate a haiku every day. I may throw in some other types of poetry, too, but haiku will be my main focus. I love the form, and I need practice.

At the end of the month, I plan to publish UnSong, my collection of illustrated poetry. It’s pretty much complete now, but I have some fellow poets and writers still looking it over and offering critiques. Thanks to the ones who’ve already offered their feedback, I feel pretty confident in it, but I’m still working on a few changes.

Anyway, watch this space. I’ll be back tomorrow with an illustrated haiku.

My inspiration for illustrations and poetry often come from the same place. Like this little chickadee.
Illustration by Michelle Garren Flye