Happy National Poetry Month! Founded by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, the month-long celebration increases awareness, appreciation, and support for the art of poetry.
Typically, April stands out as one of my favorite months of the year. I can never get enough of the fun, jam-packed event calendars at local bookstores or the inspiring meetings with my workshop group. This year, however, National Poetry Month feels different. With both national and local leaders canceling events and enacting stay-at-home measures due to coronavirus, the promise of open mics and crowded book releases has faded. Nevertheless, the power of poetry demands to be celebrated, and it can help keep us together in this distanced, often lonely time. Here are five virtual poetry parties to attend.
Amanda Lovelace & Cyrus Parker Instagram Live Event
Andrews McMeel poets and real-life couple Lovelace and Parker will go live on Massachusetts bookstore An Unlikely Story’s Instagram account (@anunlikelystory) on April 4 at 2 p.m. EST to share poems and talk about their latest collections. Lovelace will discuss the recently published break your glass slippers, while Parker will chat about the forthcoming coffee days whiskey nights. Buying Lovelace’s collection from An Unlikely Story also means you can receive a signed bookplate.
Literary Hub’s Virtual Book Channel
Beloved writerly site Lit Hub has dedicated themselves to filling the current gap in writing programming by creating a channel that features interviews with writers, readings, and even a literary happy hour. The site announced it will post a new programming calendar weekly, and those interested can already explore dozens of conversations on Vimeo.
International Poetry Circle
“Feeling isolated? You’re not alone,” reads the Twitter bio of poet Tara Skurtu’s new reading series. Hosted on Twitter at the handle @IntPoetryCircle, this community invites poets to tag videos of them reading their work or work they admire with the hashtag #InternationalPoetryCircle. The account will then retweet these videos, making the page a constantly growing collection of poems and diverse voices. So far, everyone from National Book Award winner Ada Limón to musician Hozier have participated.
These virtual poetry readings stream on Twitter every Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EST via the handle @ImminentSeries. So far, the series has featured Jessica Guzman and Candice Wuehle. This coming Sunday, MC Hyland, Rebecca Kosick, and Danielle Pafunda will read.
The Writer’s Center
Maryland nonprofit The Writer’s Center offers open mics, craft writing workshops, and more, and has translated this in-person catalog to online learning for all. Join a Zoom open mic on April 4, hear the words of poets Lisa-Hase Jackson and Annie Kim on April 6, and more.
Coronavirus might be new and frightening territory, but poetry can help provide strength. Be gentle with both yourself and your writing community throughout this time. If writing helps, consider participating in the NaPoWriMo challenge, which consists of writing a poetry draft every day in April.