National Poetry Month: The Aftermath

Well folks, National Poetry Month has come and gone.

And after being flooded by verse, I hope people don't wait until next April to think about poetry.

It's strange. As much as National Poetry Month celebrates poetry, it often feels as if the month implies that poetry is an art form that needs to be dusted off, revitalized, and appreciated. I mean, there's no such thing as National Prose Month or National Watercolor Painting Month, right?

For instance, even though poetry was celebrated around New York and was touted as something vibrant and important, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is still planning on putting an end to Poetry in Motion, the program that placed poetry in buses and subways since 1992.

From The New York Times:

Those poems on the subways are going the way of the No. 9 line — that is, coming to an end after 15 years. Poems may still be posted now and then, but mostly the quotations seen on subways and buses will pertain to a number of different subjects, including history, philosophy, literature and science.

More here.

While this is too bad for verse lovers in New York, fortunately in cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Orlando, and Dallas, the public promotion of poetry isn't going to disappear now that April is over but will be broadcast on TV screens in buses for the masses to enjoy.

From the Chicago Tribune:

For all those bus riders who think that they shall never see a poem lovely as a tree, there's hope.

Starting Thursday, Pace passengers can get a free dose of culture. Animated versions of some of the most acclaimed contemporary poetry will be featured every hour on the video display screens aboard the buses.

The idea is the brainchild of Milwaukee creative writing professor Liam Callanan, who thought of it one day while riding the bus, of course. Callanan wondered why there couldn't be something more enlightening on the screens than weather reports, news headlines and advertising.

More here.

They have the right idea. Poetry doesn't need a month to be appreciated. So write a poem. Read one. Buy a book or literary magazine. Search for your favorite poets online. Make May - no - make every month poetry month.

And may the verse be with you.

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