April Is National Poetry Month

And there are plenty of ways to celebrate

Dean Young
Dean Young
Photo by Jana Birchum

It must be a sign:
"National Poetry Month"
fits in a haiku.

The Academy of American Poets
Loves poetry and wants you to show it.
Read a book, write a letter,
or – we'll do you one better –
Study one of these folks down below. Get!

With sincere apologies for this writer's limerick skills, a translation: National Poetry Month's annual festivities, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, have been going on since 1996, but the rich literary tradition of poetry goes back centuries. Help celebrate this month by writing a letter, organizing a reading, carrying a poem in your pocket on April 18, or learning about a new poet.

Dean Young teaches at the University of Texas. We last checked in with him in 2011 when he was awaiting a heart transplant. (Don't worry, he got a new heart the next week.) His latest, Fall Higher, captured two staffers' hearts and heads for our year-end best-of lists in 2011 as well.

• Just last week, we wrote about Anis Mojgani, whose Songs From Under the River hit shelves recently. Mojgani, 35, is a slam poet, which is an artform that truly needs to be seen. Check out an example of what he can do here, and then go check out more at the Austin Poetry Slam semi-finals tomorrow night (April 2, 8pm) at the Spider House Ballroom (2906 Fruth). The final slam-off is Saturday, April 6, 8pm, at the Stateside Theatre.

• Austinist's Nick Courtright presented Punchline just over a year ago, but that compact collection is a sprawling, ambitious tome that begs for revisiting.

• We'd be remiss in not mentioning Chronicle alumna S.E. Smith, whose I Live in a Hut won the Cleveland State University First Book Prize. She recently did an interview with Coldfront's Nick Sturm, which will give you a pretty good idea of her compelling voice.

For more ideas, consider the 21st annual Austin International Poetry Festival (April 11-14), or start smaller: You'll find a poem onboard many Capital Metro buses, and you can consult our Litera listings, which includes a poem in every issue.

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