Ed note: This is a cross-post from the AYAW Blog.  You can find the original blog post here In just a few days, the 2013 Class of National Student Poets will begin to pack their bags and depart to a new city for their National Poetry Month events across the country. They may pack light, some opting for layers over parkas for a spring that yet to sprung. Some may even pack too much after a few last minute pitches into their suitcases. One carry-on item is for certain though: their love for poetry. (“I loafe and invite my soul!”) Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.  (“But I have promises to keep, / and miles to go before I sleep.”) Beginning this week, Nathan Cummings, age 18 of Mercer Island, WA, will travel to Salt Lake City, UT and lead a free workshop for local teenagers and be a featured reader at the Salt Lake City Library on Saturday, April 5.  On April 10, Michaela Coplen, 18, Carlisle, PA, will fly to Vermont where she will present at the Vermont State House and lead workshops. On April 11, Louis Lafair, 18, Austin, TX, will be a featured scholar and reader at the Round Top Poetry Festival in Round Top, TX alongside poets Jane Hirshfield and Gregory Orr. There are three events on Poem-in-Your Pocket Day, April 24, 2014!
  • Sojourner Ahebee, 18, Interlochen, MI, will be in Cleveland, OH where she will read at three local libraries, lead workshops and distribute poems to the public.
  • Aline Dolinh, 16, Vienna, VA, will be in Frankfort, KY kicking off Kentucky Writers’ Day and reading with Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank Walker!
  • Michaela Coplen ,18, will read at the Academy of American Poets Poetry and the Creative Mind gala at Lincoln Center in New York, NY.
For a listing of free, open and ticketed events, please click here and follow the poets’ experience on Facebook! (Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”). Inspired? Here are some great ways to celebrate poetry right now: (“I wheeled with the stars.”)
  • Visit your local library branch and borrow a few collections of poetry! Not sure where to begin? Some of the poets the National Student Poets are reading are: AiNatasha TrethewayDean YoungTerrance Hayes and Joy Harjo!
  • Check out the Academy of American Poets’ 30 Ways to Celebrate. Some of our favorite ideas are: playing an exquisite corpse, taking a poem out to lunch and attending an open-mic (or even starting your own!).
  • Participate in the Academy of American Poets’ Poet-to-Poet ProjectSTUDENTS: Submit your response by April 30, 2014 to poet2poet@poets.org and your work may be published on the poets.org website.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partner to present the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five outstanding high school poets whose work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise are selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors.