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National Poetry Month is a month-long celebration of poetry. The celebration takes place during the month of April and has existed since April 1996. Booksellers, poets, publishers, libraries, schools, and literary organizations come together to celebrate the importance of poetry in American culture. During National Poetry Month, poetry readings, workshops, special events, and festivals are held throughout the United States. Libraries and bookstores create book displays that highlight the celebration while schools promote poetry to their students.
The special celebration was founded by the Academy of American Poets, an organization dedicated to increasing the public's awareness of poetry. Some of the Academy's goals include introducing more Americans to poetry, bringing attention to the work of American poets, and encouraging schools to incorporate more poetry into the curriculum. The organization strives to increase national and local media attention on poetry and is also determined to influence publishers to publish and distribute more poetry in magazine and book form.
The ultimate goal is to reveal to the American public the importance of poetry in American culture. Although April is designated as a special month for poetry awareness, the Academy of American Poets encourages everyone to celebrate poetry throughout the year. It wants poetry to become an important part of every American's life.
To encourage participation in National Poetry Month, the Academy sends promotional posters free of charge to teachers, librarians, and booksellers. The organization holds special events during April, including a reading series called 10 Years/10 Cities and an event known as Poetry & the Creative Mind, supported by well-known American celebrities. Ways to celebrate National Poetry Month on a more personal level involve reading a book of poetry, attending a poetry reading, starting a poetry reading club, or purchasing a poetry book for local library.
The Academy of American Poets produces free lesson plans and curriculum for teachers who wish to incorporate National Poetry Month activities into their classrooms. Some schools choose to make it a school-wide event. Librarians receive information from the Academy concerning book displays, ideas for programs, and ways to promote their libraries' events that relate to National Poetry Month.
National Poetry Month receives financial support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Council of Teachers of English. The Academy also accepts donations from the public in order to further its mission of bringing more awareness to the art of poetry. For more information about National Poetry Month, visit poets.org.