The thing I like about having a National Poetry Month is of course that poetry’s visibility gets raised. At least a little if you’re not looking for it, and quite a bit if you are.
Here are some links to a few of the cooler poetry-related things I’ve seen this week:
Many bookstores do Poetry Month sales (Powell’s is having a 15% off all poetry books all month sale) but a bunch of independent presses (including some of the major independents) are offering a twist on the usual BOGO — Buy One Give One: buy one book of poetry, get one free to pass on to someone else. A great way to spread some great contemporary poetry around. Presses include Tin House Books, Coffeehouse Press, Archipelago Books, BOA Editions, Copper Canyon Press, Milkweed Editions, Red Hen Press, Sarabande Books, and YesYes Books. Details and links to all those presses on Tin House’s blog.
The Knopf Doubleday Poem-A-Day: you can sign up to get their poem-a-day in your inbox every morning this month, and they are always excellent poems (and include links to audio recordings, the book from which the poem came, and more info about the poet). I was especially pleased to see my former professor David Young’s translations of Basho on the first day.
Pulitzer Remix: poems made from text pulled from the pages of various Pulitzer Prize-winning novels (you can sign up to get emails of all poems, or just of poems from specific books). I like collage-y projects like this.
The Sonnet Project, takin’ it to the streets — performance and film project with 154 actors reciting 154 Shakespeare sonnets at 154 iconic New York City locations. Videos will be released in batches throughout the year at The Sonnet Project website, and then the whole shebang in an anthology at the end. (This is yet another way-cool project coming to life thanks for Kickstarter. Here’s another poetry-related one, Line Assembly, a group of six poets who want to roadtrip the US doing readings and promoting literary communities (tag line: Six Poets. One Van. No Quit)).
The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Blog is asking folks to participate in their record-a-poem project on Soundcloud — poetry is ultimately supposed to be said/heard, after all.
And if you want to get in on the writing of poetry, a high school class came up with this great (and long) list of poetry writing prompts. (These kids’ music taste, based on the mentions in prompts (Lana Del Ray, Bon Iver, The Black Crowes) is a little suspect , but other than that, a great list.) Some of my favorites:
Go to a thrift store and buy the ugliest shirt you can find and wear it for a day, go to a public place and write a poem while wearing the shirt
Drink a cup of coffee different from what you normally do (more sugar, less cream, black, or just drink a cup of coffee if you never do) and write a poem while drinking it
Make up a product (that doesn’t exist), and try to find it at Wal-Mart. Ask an employee to help you! (Doing something strange, inspires great poetry.)
Take six random objects and place them in a line on the floor. Get your dog all wild and excited so they run around. Write about whatever object your pet touches or knocks over first.
Turn out all of the lights and only use a flash light to explore your house. Write.
Do dishes and belt out- EXTREMELY LOUD- She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes. This will give you the power to write something awesome, and the soapy hands from the dishes means you can’t write down any good ideas you have. That’s when the good ideas always come.