Why We Celebrate Poetry

3 min read

| By Sarah Robertson |

Every April, we observe National Poetry Month as a time to reflect on the cultural significance of poetry.  Established in 1996, it encourages the celebration of poetry in the classroom, the library, and online. National Poetry Month aims to recognize the achievements of poets, inspire students and the general public to read poetry, help educators incorporate poetry into the classroom, and make poetry more accessible to readers.

The largest literary celebration in the world, National Poetry Month reminds us of the unique nature of poetry. As an art form, it differs from other types of literature because the reader takes part in the creative process. Through a careful construction of words and structural considerations, like meter and rhyme, a poem has the ability to impact a reader in ways traditional prose can’t. Just as the creation of a poem transcends the boundaries of prose, a reader’s mind can explore uncharted realms of feeling and understanding while reading a poem.

In contrast with the concrete realities of prose—narrative, plot, character, and setting—poetry glories in abstractions. As a form, it scales the depths of our secret, interior worlds. When the words of a poem are read aloud, this is especially true. It is then that a poem comes alive, and the reader serves as an essential channel for the delivery of its message. The relationship between a poem and a reader is a dance. A poem relies on the reader to bring it to life, while a reader might rely on a poem to better understand life. The meaning of a poem is unique to an individual. Each reader engages through the lens of their life experience and emerges with an understanding that is both personal and universal.

For Students is dedicated to furthering the mission of National Poetry Month by helping students and teachers appreciate the vital role poetry plays in our lives and culture. The Poetry for Students series, available in print and eBook format on Gale eBooks, includes more than 60 volumes, each highlighting 16 works of poetry that vary in time period, culture, and gender perspective. Celebrate National Poetry Month with For Students!

Meet the Author

Sarah Robertson is a writer, editor, and longtime contributor to For Students.

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