A History of National Poetry Month and its Celebration by OSU Students


Jessica Li

This past April was National Poetry Month. Despite the month being well over, it is never too late to celebrate the creative work produced by students of Oregon State University.

According to poets.org, the occasion was founded in April 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, and over the years, it has achieved engagement by tens of millions, anywhere from readers to teachers to librarians and more, making it the largest literary celebration worldwide. 

Aiming to recognize the value of poetry in culture and our lives now sparks more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Now, as we face an unprecedented circumstance, National Poetry Month has taken on new meaning and importance,” stated the Academy of American Poets on their poets.org website. “More and more people are turning to poetry at this moment, because poetry and inspiring language can help bring solace and needed strength.” 

For a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month with remote adjustments, click here. Moreover, the graphic in this article displays the official 2020 National Poetry Month poster. 

Nationally, the last year’s most read poem “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye is being recognized in addition to many other poetry books and authors that you can browse through here.

Under the umbrella of poets celebrating the holiday lies OSU students. For example, the Poetry Club has still been holding meetings through Zoom to continue attaining their passion for poetry despite the circumstances of quarantine. 

“I think that having a group of people who can support one another’s artistic endeavors makes reading and writing feel less lonely,” said Logan Reck, Poetry Club President and a third year student studying History. “Now, more than ever, is the time when we need to observe the course of the world around us — and it’s our time to make what we will of it.”

Another student who is high-spirited about celebrating National Poetry Month is Leah Kahn, a second year studying Business Management. In her attempt to write a poem every day this month, she has written 18 of them as of April 23, 2020. Three of her friends are also participating in the challenge, and every day that they write a poem, they share it with each other through text. 

“I really love writing poetry, and by sharing my poems with my friends, it’s a way to spread that creativity and to connect with them at a time when we sometimes feel very isolated,” said Kahn. 

In addition, Kahn also challenged herself to write a poem every day in the year 2018. From this, she learned to create art with ease rather than writing when the proper mood arrived or upon inspiration. 

“It forces you to find inspiration from anything, and gets rid of the fear of getting your hands dirty, because you just jump right in and start writing,” said Kahn. “Poets can create a feeling or a moment with just their words. They can remind us of the beauty around us.”

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