National Poetry Month is Here!

by Cate Foster

April has been known as National Poetry Month since 1996. It’s a time to celebrate all things poetic!

“How do I do that?” you might be asking yourself. That’s a good question, with many possible answers. I offer some suggestions here. Whether you try them all or not, I do hope you will try at least one. Poetry is not something to be feared. It can even be fun!

And to top it off, poetry could win you cash and prizes…

For example, enter the poetry contest sponsored by us, your friendly, local Writing Center! Throughout the month of April we will be accepting poems from UW Bothell students. Your poem should include at least two of the following words: paper, grammar, review, peer, center, writing, class, word, cite.

Here is an example from Writing Consultant, Linda Dodge:

The WC at UWB
‘Twas early Spring Quarter,
and at the Writing Center
a boatload of students
was beginning to enter.

They came in asking mainly
for grammar and flow.
But left realizing about writing,
there is much more to know.

For it’s not about fixing
your paper or letter.
It’s about making even good writing,
just a little bit better.

We can help with ideas,
and organization, too.
Also word choice and sentences,
we can review.

We teach skills, face-to-face,
Online and by phone.
We keep the words yours,
so the paper’s your own.

So have your paper reviewed
by any tutor here.
Or if our schedule’s booked,
why not try a class peer?

We can help you to cite,
and give credit where due.
We’re the UWB Writing Center,
and we’re here for you!

Your poem can be any form or style you like. Learning about the myriad of poetic forms out there is a great activity during National Poetry Month. For example, there’s the pantoum, villanelle, sestina, sonnet, limerick, haiku, sevenling, rondeau, triolet, acrostic…and the list goes on and on.

To submit your poem, please send it to uwbwrite@uwb.edu, with your name and POETRY CONTEST in the subject line. Send us your poem before the end of April, and you could win a $10 GIFT CERTIFICATE to the bookstore!

In addition to our fabulous contest, the Academy of American Poets lists a number of ways – 30, to be exact – to celebrate the poetic fun of April. Take a look and see if any of their ideas strike a lyric chord with you.

The poetry editor of Writer’s Digest holds two poem-a-day challenges each year, one in November and one, naturally, in April. If homework hasn’t completely overwhelmed you yet, you might give some thought to joining in the fun. Themes are offered each day to get you started, but where you go from there is entirely up to you. And at the end of the month, you are welcome to submit a chapbook of your poetry for potential publication.

Poems are a great form of expression; they can be humorous, sentimental, or fantastical. And just as two-page papers are frequently more challenging than longer essays because you must sufficiently and eloquently get your point across quickly, poetry demands attention to detail. In a short poem, the change of one word can make all the difference. This can be challenging, but there lies fun.

And it’s definitely rewarding.

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