I read an unnerving article yesterday as we close National Poetry Month about getting rid of this annual commemoration. It came from a surprising source because this Associate Professor of English, who has 5 published books of poetry, said that we need to get rid of National Poetry Month. He states that this “new calendar event hasn’t seemed to do anything for poetry, or poets or readers.” He also noted that he agreed with a teacher from the University of Pennsylvania, that the whole idea (meaning National Poetry Month) is a coy attempt to commodify what is not a commodity.
Now, he goes on to make other points that hold some validity to it. To refer to poetry being useless, however, is like an ice cold slap in the face to many seasoned and novice poetry enthusiasts and poets. Like art, poetry is not a genre that you will get rich off of. For me it is a movement of learning, education and cultural development. Because of that, I will continue to advocate for poetry and gain momentum in bringing greater awareness to its engaging qualities. Just because National Poetry Month ends April 30, we must not close our journals and books until April rolls around next year! Nah! As I said previously, “Poetry is a movement!”
Now, while J.T. Barbarese, the Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University – Camden made some noteworthy points, his commentary actually motivated me instead of angering me when I first read the title of his piece. I will intensify my commitment and mission through my love of poetry, to show how it influences the arts, humanities and creativity of young minds. I was so encouraged by our youth who participated in our poetry event on April 5, at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, that connected poetry with multi-media artistry and other creative elements which enhanced this poetry event.
As I further evaluated Mr. Barbarese’s claim that we should get rid of National Poetry Month, I disagree with that. If we were to do that then we would have to consider eliminating some of our other national observances. However, I do agree that we need to continue exploring the nuances of poetic intellect, emotion and creativity. Poetry is indeed useful. Like anything an individual is passionate about, quite frankly you will not need to wait on a special occasion to show your adoration. Click here to read Mr. Barbarese’s article in its entirety.