April is National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month in the US. It 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. If you don’t happen to live in the US, it doesn’t matter. You can celebrate poetry wherever you are. Poetry is a universal thing that knows no national boundaries!

You can read more about National Poetry Day, why it’s important and how you can participate by clicking here. In fact, here are 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month. Do something to enhance your life. Make poetry a regular part of it!



Reminder: April is National Poetry Month

readingToday’s post is just a quick reminder that tomorrow, April 1st, is the first day of National Poetry Month here in the USA. Poetry, of course, knows no borders so I encourage everyone, everywhere to celebrate April like it’s National Poetry Month wherever you are! You can learn more about NPM and how you can participate in this hub I wrote a while back.

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A Great Resource for Southern California – the Los Angeles Poet Society


I stumbled upon the great website of the Los Angeles Poet Society today. As usual, I will let LAPS explain itself with this excerpt from their website:

Founded in 2010, the Los Angeles Poet Society, (LAPS), was by raised by East LA born Poet, Jessica M. Wilson. The mission of the LAPS is to create a bridge, fusing the communities of Los Angeles and Southern California Poets, poetry organizations, Writer groups, booksellers, publishers, literary enthusiasts and supporters into a unified social and literary network.

The focal point of LAPS is to network and publicize the events and achievements of its members. LAPS also organizes and promotes events, pulling from within its own community, to create and sustain Los Angeles’ literary anchor.

The founder, Jessica M. Wilson, is a poet from East Los Angeles, CA. Jessica holds her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Otis College, and a BA in both Creative Writing and Art History from UC Riverside. She is the Founder of the Los Angles Poet Society, Writers’ Row (a showcase of Writers during the downtown Art Walk), Writer Wednesdays, and SoapBox Poets which is a collaborative group of artists delivering their work to masses.

If you live in or around Los Angeles, you might want to become a member and take advantage of all this organization has to offer.

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The Spoken Word – Poets in Performance


If you enjoy poetry, I’ve no doubt you enjoy it most frequently by reading it. “Duh!’, you say, “how else!”. Clearly, that is how most people enjoy it. Reading poetry can be a most entertaining and profound thing. It allows your imagination to take the text wherever it will, maybe where the poet intended, maybe not. That’s the beauty of poetry. It’s open to interpretation through the experiences, biases and prejudices of the reader. Reading poetry is simply a wonderfully moving experience.

I state the obvious. Yes, I know. However, I wonder how many of you have ever attended a poetry reading, festival or other venue where poetry is read out loud. How many of you have enjoyed poetry through the spoken word? It’s an entirely different and moving experience. The imagination is still engaged but in a different way; taken to different places by the tones, inflections, volume, pacing, pauses and the myriad of other ways the human voice can be used in dramatic expression. Indeed, the experience of the same poem can be completely different depending on who reads it, their experiences, biases and prejudices molding their interpretation and performance.

To give you a taste of what I mean, take a look at Bill Moyers’ “Poets in Performance” page on his Moyers and Company website. There you will find over 20 poems read, no performed, aloud by various artists. I’m sure you’ll find it a fascinating and supremely entertaining experience. To quote from Bill Moyers’ own website:

Over the years, Bill Moyers has welcomed some of America’s best poets to share their works and inspiration. Many of those writers have performed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which Bill and his colleagues covered for television specials including Fooling with Words (1999), The Language of Life (1995) and Sounds of Poetry (1999). Below, enjoy a showcase of such poetry from past productions and very recently from Moyers & Company, performed by the poets who dreamed them up, or by other artists who, like Bill, simply adore poetry.

My hope is that by listening to poetry this way you not only gain an appreciation for the spoken word but that your enjoyment of poetry in general grows. There is a place for both reading and listening and both are needed. Who knows, maybe you’ll find you enjoy it so much you’ll want attend a live poetry reading, an experience that will take your enjoyment of poetry to a new level. Imagine after having listened to a poet perform a work, you can actually speak with them afterward. Picking their minds a asking them those questions you’ve been dying to ask. So stop “just reading” poetry, start listening. Then start going and asking and writing and performing and … who knows where it will end!

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Highly Subjective Lists of Favorite SoCal Poetry Venues

poetixI found this list on the Poetix website today. I’ve written about Poetix before on this blog and it’s continues to be a great resource for the poetry community in Southern California where I reside. If you live in SoCal or are a visitor and looking for a poetry venue to visit, G. Murray Thomas and Terry McCarty provide their takes on their favorite SoCal poetry venues. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy close to you.

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Poets House


about-buildingBeing relatively new to the world of poetry, I am constantly running across great resources for those who love poetry. Recently I came upon Poets House. Frankly, if I tried to write something to describe Poets House it would probably read about as well as my poetry. So I will let Poets House describe itself. The following paragraphs are from Poets House own “About” page. If you want to learn more, you can visit their website. It is packed full of information, resources and programs for poetry lovers of all ages and backgrounds. Check it out. I only wish I lived in NYC to visit the Poets House library in person.

Founded in 1985 by the late U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz and arts administrator Elizabeth Kray, Poets House began a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary of public programming this year, a celebration of our modest beginnings and growth to serving millions each year. Poets House continues to bring world-renowned poets to new audiences, welcoming poetry experts as well as those new to the art form, every day.

We invite you to visit our 50,000-volume poetry library in New York City. Poets House’s collection is among the most comprehensive, open-stacks collections of poetry in the United States. Attend our acclaimed poetry events and poetry workshops. Be sure to become a member today to receive special benefits and to support our ongoing work – Poets House documents the wealth and diversity of modern poetry and stimulates public dialogue on issues of poetry in culture.

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“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

writingI saw this quote come across my Facebook newsfeed today. Two years ago I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Today it struck home. You see, two years ago writing was the farthest thing from my mind. Writing of any kind but especially poetry. In my mind, writers sat before their typewriters (or computers, rather) and the words flew onto the blank page from their minds or hearts or souls or wherever the words were born. Sure, I knew that writers suffered blocks, periods when the words simply weren’t there. But the dam eventually broke and the words flowed forth once again unabated. Filling page after page with the greatest of ease.

Once I’d been bitten by the writing bug, I realized just how naive those thoughts really were. I’ve suffered from periods of writer’s block which did eventually end and the words did again begin to flow. But the truth is that Nathaniel Hawthorne was dead right! Easy reading is damn hard writing! What many non-writers don’t know (and I shudder to consider myself a writer still) is that good writing is rarely easy. Even when the words flow, even with motivation and inspiration present, writing is hard work!

I am reminded of another quote by another fairly famous writer you may have heard of, Oscar Wilde. He said,

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”

It is like that sometimes. Writers struggle not only with inspiration and story line and character development but with matters of language and grammar, form, style and more. We will labor over the smallest, seemingly insignificant details. We will make a change only to change it back later. Good writing is far more than inspiration, it is perspiration as well. Perspiration is the water that wets the ink well. Gaining this understanding gave me a new and very personal understanding of the phrase “labor of love”. If you write, you know and understand this all too well. If you don’t, then keep this fact in mind and just maybe the next novel or short story or poem you read you will leave you with a greater appreciation for what it took to create it.

Thanks for the inspiration, Terrye!



The Top 50 Poetry Blogs per Blog Rank

Curious about how your poetry blog is really doing? So was I. I stumbled across Blog Rank while doing a Google search on my own poetry blog. Of course, I knew my humble blog wouldn’t rank in the top 5000 poetry blogs much less the top 50! But as a fan of poetry and being a blogger, I am certainly interested in following the better blogs and learning what it is that makes them so successful. As you may as well, I am passing along to you Blog Rank’s Top Fifty Poetry Blogs.

Blog Rank uses over 20 different factors to rank the blogs in any category. Some of the factors include:RSS membership, incoming links, Compete Alexa, and Technorati ranking, and social sites popularity.

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The Art of Writing Poetry – A Series of Articles from Poetry X

Poetry X is a web site devoted to increasing the public’s readership and appreciation of poetry via the Internet. PoetryX.com is owned and operated by poet, critic, and raconteur Jough Dempsey.

The Art of Writing Poetry is a series of articles that takes a look at the process of writing poetry, techniques that poets use, ways to get started, tips and tricks, and anything else associated with the writing life. You can find this helpful series of articles here.

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Poetry Flash – Building Community Through Literature

Poetry Flash, Literary Review & Calendar for the West builds community through literature, providing literary writing, access to literary activities, information, and inspiration to writers and the public through publishing and events. Publication is their primary expression, both online and in print. Now celebrating 40 years!

Poetry Flash publishes reviews of poetry and literary fiction, poems, interviews, essays, and submission and award information for all creative writers—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, online and in print. Poetry Flash also features an extensive listing of literary events in the West, especially comprehensive online. The all-genre, online literary calendar, divided geographically, provides readers with an in-depth portrait of events all over California, the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon), and the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico), with a representative sampling of other national and international events, conferences and festivals. Featuring event highlights that direct readers to the online calendar, Poetry Flash is published as a junior tab newspaper in editions of 22,000, on the “free paper” model, serving a maximum audience by maintaining the largest circulation possible. Production and distribution are supported by advertising, subscriptions, grants, and donations. Poetryflash.org hits 19,500 visits per month; the online events calendar is frequently updated.

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