Start by visiting some poems online

Poets.org is a site sublime

Poetry Daily is another treat

And Borzoi emails each day

Isn’t that neat?

Okay, that’s enough of that. The one thing we most definitely do not want to do is visit the banquet that is National Poetry Month and end up with a wiener of doggerel on our plates.

On the other hand, we do want to start April by highlighting how easy it is to find your way to poetry these days. Poems can be the gems in the coal mine of day-to-day life. They can lighten the load of worry, provoke thought, or give you a sense of belonging to a world where the mysteries of existence vibrate with a visible aura. Provocative or rueful, transcendent or common-spoken, poems reveal. Just bear in mind that revelations need not be inscrutable.

It’s important to make that point, because the reason most people do not approach poetry—or have not since they were forced to, in one classroom or another—is because they fear they don’t understand it.

If you’ve been a bit verse-phobic, isn’t this the year to open your mind and use National Poetry Month to reacquaint yourself with “the awareness of experience” that is poetry? What is so wonderful is that, in order to do that, you need do nothing more than sit at your computer.

May we suggest Poets.org as a wonderful place to start? The website of the Academy of American Poets, Poets.org invites you in with a home page that offers a plethora of portals to innumerable ways to view and think about poetry.

You can follow one of their suggested routes, or search a poem or poet you remember from the past. You can listen to poets read poetry. Or access a resource called Poetry 101, a guided tour through poetry appreciation. You can even sign up to have them email you a poem from the new spring poetry titles each day during the month April (or to your mobile device every day of the year). It’s a site to bathe in, to get lost in, to find yourself in and to return to day after day.

For those who don’t want a lush and dense experience of poetry, but rather a quick brush with the magical, Poetry Daily is perfect. It’s a straightforward site that spotlights one poem each day, offering a profile of the featured poet and a look at the book from which the poem came. You can access the archives of previously featured poems and poets, and read news about the “Po World” there as well.

And for the retail minded, both Poets.org and Poetry Daily have wonderful shopping opportunities, which could come in handy when looking for gifts, especially for lovers of poems.

The Borzoi Reader Poem-A-Day is a wonderful way to feel like a poetry insider. The offspring of Knopf/Doubleday books, Borzoi’s selection of poems is far-reaching. Unlike the daily poems from Poets.org, Borzoi sends both the old and the new. Last year, a wonderful offering from Keats was followed by David Lehman’s “Poem in the Manner of a Jazz Standard.” There’s a word for how subscribing to Borzoi’s free poem-a-day feature makes you feel: smart.

You may remember when, in 2002, Ruth Lilly, heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals fortune, donated $100 million to Chicago’s Poetry Foundation.  At the time, many felt the Foundation would go to the ruin that befalls many lottery winners. To the contrary—the organization has been thoughtful and measured in its use of the windfall, and its website attests to the taste and egalitarianism that is present in much of their work. Particularly wonderful is the way in which they offer categories of poems (“Weddings,” “Sadness,” and “Dogs,” to name just a few). If you are at a loss for something to say to someone about an occasion or an event, or you’re just looking for a new way to consider something you haven’t explored for a while, this is a great place to start.

Of course, we at Women’s Voices for Change like to think we have carved a very special niche in the cathedral of poetry. Our weekly Poetry Friday features poems, interviews, and books by women poets who speak to what we think about. They are women who find new and wonderful ways to bring us into the world, where we can discover something we’ve always known but hadn’t expressed for ourselves.

One day last week, entering the word “Poetry” as a Google search yielded 196,000,000 results. Hardly a day goes by when we aren’t told the internet has robbed civilization of something: innocence privacy, time, community. National Poetry Month is the perfect time to celebrate something very tangible that the web offers everyone: poems of every stripe and stories about the people who write them. Here’s hoping you add prosody to your life this month and discover the wonder to be found there.

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