April is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, where poets and poetry are celebrated annually. According to the Academy of American Poets, “National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.” In 2016, more than 25 organizations joined together to create the Poetry Coalition, promoting poets and poetry with a social importance theme presented every March through June. This year’s theme is directed toward the environment, entitled “It is burning./ It is dreaming./ It is waking up.: Poetry & Environmental Justice.” Previous societal themes have been devoted to migration, the body, democracy and protest. 

National Poetry Month is used to bring awareness to keep poets and poetry prospering. Most schools will implement poetic writing or history into their curriculum. There are also numerous events held across the nation for poetry readings to bring communities together and keep poetry alive.

You can help sustain poets and poetry, too, by reading/writing poems and integrating poetry into your daily life – not only in April but beyond that, as well!

So, what is poetry? Poetry is storytelling.

Related: Calling All Storytellers and Scribes! It’s National Write Your Story Day: Let’s Hear Yours!

Over the years of being a poet, I’ve heard remarks from individuals who quite often don’t understand poetry. The best piece of advice I can supply is that poetry is not something you simply understand but more something you feel. Poetry is a personal connection to each syllable softly spoken or fiercely magnified. The meaning of a poem can differ from person to person, which portrays a unique beauty. Poetry is written in a subliminal sense where intertwining attributes of our world become a descriptive metaphor of our own memories and emotions. 

Poetry is self-expression in one of many art forms. 

Writing poetry can also be associated with numerous benefits. Throughout my journey as a poet, I would follow the motto: “A poem a day will make the worry go away.” The creativity had me relishing in self-love and appreciation for all aspects of my life and the emotions that went along with them. I was able to tune into my heart and soul that was screaming for an outlet to let go but not forget. I was faced with the ability to think critically about who I am, what I’ve gone through, and who I’m striving to become. We as humans are everchanging in a way that correlates with acceptance in learning to be a better you. Poetry aided in self-growth and taught me to be more open-minded about not only the world around me but also about myself. I gained the knowledge through poetry to never regret – for every moment in my life has made me the person I am today. Plus, these overwhelming memories and bursting emotions read rather majestically on paper, too. 

Some other common phrases I have heard people say are:
“I’m not creative enough,” … 
“I can’t write a poem,” … 
“I don’t know how.” 

The best thing to remember is that you can do no wrong when spilling your beating heart and your thought-filled mind into a poem. No mistake can be made since there is no right way to creatively string words together. Poetry is beautiful and heartfelt because of the individual perspective communicated.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

  • “You are an atom that exists
    in a world constantly on the move
    you deserve to value yourself
    the way the sky values the moon.”
    Courtney Peppernell
  • “Never apologize for burning too
    brightly or collapsing into yourself every
    night, that is how galaxies are made.” 
    Tyler Kent White
  • “She is far more
    than what meets
    the eyes.
    You will not
    recognize how
    beautiful she is,
    until you start
    looking at the
    things the
    eyes can’t see.”
    Pierre Alex Jeanty
  • “To hold tight each feeling
    I am blessed to have felt
    I write not to be known
    but to know myself.”
    Lang Leav

Try it out! Write a poem and submit it in the Comment section below! 

Here’s mine:

A Woman’s Tenacity

“I am Woman, hear me roar.”

These scars have a story to be told
of roads long traveled
and mountains climbed to the highest peaks.

Bashed and bruised every step of the way,
I walk with my head in the air
and my shoulders standing tall –
unafraid.

Hear the pounding of my heart,
the vibrations of my movements,
and the fierceness in my voice.

for I am a force to be reckoned with

I am a Woman
with scars from the battle of life,
inhibiting strength from getting knocked down,
and the courage to stand up again
even when society would tell me otherwise,
even when my mind would tell its own lies –
I rise

The Future of Connection for Women

Jessica Weger

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