“My focus in this role is going to be on visiting tribes, bringing poetry out into the natural world to celebrate beautiful places in Washington, and writing poems based on ecology and environmental restoration and preservation.”

rena priest, washington state Poet Laureate

National Poetry Month! Bring Your Own Poem to Share – Theme: Spring Fever

For the month of April, we celebrated National Poetry month by sharing some of our favorite poems, including The Forest for the Trees by the current Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest. Priest is the author of Sublime Subliminal (Floating Bridge Press, 2018). A member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, she’s the first Indigenous poet to assume the role.

We also shared Ada Limón’s beautiful Instructions on Not Giving Up, Richard Wilbur’s brief and glorious Having Misidentified a Wild-Flower, and marvelous Mysteries, Yes by Mary Oliver.

See the resources below for observing National Poetry Month – all year long!

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

Top Ten Ways to Observe National Poetry Month…

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day, curated this month by award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and read a poem each morning.
  2. Sign-up to receive a free National Poetry Month poster, featuring a line by 2021 Presidential Inaugural Poet and 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, or download the PDF and display it for the occasion.
  3. Read 2021’s most-read poem by a contemporary poet, Amanda Gorman’s “In This Place (An American Lyric).”
  4. Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #NationalPoetryMonth. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on Twitter and Instagram!
  5. Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day podcast.
  6. Check out an e-book of poetry from your local library.
  7. Begin your virtual meetings or classes by reading a poem.
  8. Talk to the teachers in your life about Teach This Poem and encourage students in grades 5-12 to participate in the Dear Poet project
  9. Learn more about poets and virtual poetry events nationwide.
  10. Read about your state poet laureate. Washington State Poet Laureate page.

Mindful Poetry usually meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6pm PT, via Zoom.

Our Curator and Guide:

Poetry has been a life-long passion and solace for Rebecca Echert-Lennstrom. The beauty and playfulness of verse captured her heart early and became a well-spring of reflection and inspiration. For the last 25 years, she’s been sharing that love with high school students as an English teacher and creative writing instructor, steeped in words and imagery. She’s coached students in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition for ten years, paired with professional poets in the classroom to inspire student writing, and published high school creative writing magazines. This is her second year curating the Mindful Poetry Series as a ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Questions? Please email Sylvia Sepulveda.

Learn more at our Mindful Poetry page.

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Mindful Poetry – April Notes