During April is one of the world’s largest literary celebrations, in which schools, libraries, publishers and poets contribute to and admire the art of poetry. During this month, nations are reminded of the rich history behind poetry and how it influenced politics and societies long ago. National Poetry Month is a nostalgic time of reflection, but it encourages writers to pick up their pens and create new masterpieces.
The first celebration began in 1996 and was organized by the Academy of American Poets. The Academy was inspired by the success of both Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March. They contacted multiple cities and organizations to put together this annual vision. Today the Academy still designs activities and events to help influence neighborhood projects to write poetry. They also publish different works sent in on their website throughout the month.
Poetry is a unique genre of writing for it can be as simple or as complex as the poet desires. Some poetry keeps order and follows the rules, while other poems follow no consistent patterns. The reason for this is simple: freedom. Poets express the perspective of their thoughts, emotions and even experiences and depict the movement of the times. Elements of time, space and rhythm may alter poetry for they express the consciousness of the heart. From confessional to musical poetry, each type carries an important message to the world.
The very first nominee to win Best Poet from the Academy by citizen vote was none other than the 1920s’ jazz poet Langston Hughes. Hughes was an African-American poet and the first to experiment with music incorporated in his poems. The Roaring Twenties was a lively and musical era of jazz, and Hughes believed his poems should mirror the age of which he was part. He was a strong supporter of simplicity and rhythm and used his surroundings and experiences to tell a profound story.