Living with Poetry
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National Poetry Month - April
National Poetry Month poster

Living with Poetry

During National Poetry Month, attention turns toward the importance of poetry in the everyday world

Always be a poet, even in prose. – Charles Baudelaire

Poetry transcends the ordinary, transforming words, phrases and sentences into rich sensory impressions. Most of us are exposed to poetry at some point – a bit of Robert Frost in the classroom or a favorite shared family verse. But what about poetry in everyday life?

According to a recent survey by the Poetry Foundation, poetry is more than just pretty words. Benefits of reading poetry include relaxation, enjoyment, enlightenment and self-understanding. It expands your vocabulary and helps improve language skills. Poetry readers tend to be sociable and lead active lives. They listen to music, read a variety of genres, use the Internet, attend cultural events, volunteer and socialize with friends and family at significantly higher rates than non-poetry readers.

Readers of poetry also believe that it provides insights into the world around them, keeps the mind sharp, helps them understand themselves and others and provides comfort and solace. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents thought that both poets and poetry readers are people who are generally respected; 70 percent would like to meet poets, and 66 percent would like to meet poetry readers.

10 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Whether you’re already a poetry lover or looking to become one, here are some fun ways to celebrate National Poetry Month and add a little poetry to your life:

  1. Revisit a Poem: Brush the dust off a classic and give a fresh read. (Hint: At the library, books of poetry are found in the “800” section of the Dewey decimal system.)
  2. Attend a Poetry Reading: Broward County Libraries hosts a number of poetry groups and open-mic events, including regularly monthly events at Miramar Library and Southwest Regional Library.
  3. Start a “Commonplace” Book: Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have copied their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks called commonplace books. Find all the free poetry and quotes you need at your library!
  4. Watch a Poetry Movie: Whether it’s Dead Poets Society or a documentary on your favorite poet, find it in Broward County Library’s selection of movies and films.
  5. Poem on the Pavement: Go a step beyond hopscotch and write a poem in (washable) chalk on your sidewalk.
  6. A Poem in Your Pocket: Select a poem you love and on April 26, Poem in Your Pocket Day, carry it with you. Share it with co-workers, family and friends!
  7. Write a Letter to a Poet: Let the poets you are reading know that you appreciate their work by sending them a letter. Get mailing address for poets and publishing houses with help from a Broward County Library reference librarian, either in person, on the phone or even online.
  8. Visit a Poetry Landmark: Visiting physical places associated with a favorite writer is a great way to pay homage to their life and work. Learn about local literary landmarks with a free, downloadable booklet from Florida Center for the Book.
  9. Get Critical! Get a better understanding of poetry by reading poetry criticism from one of Broward County Library’s free online resources such as Literature Criticism Online.
  10. Write Your Own Poem: Take a free, online poetry writing class from Universal Class. All you need is your Broward County Library card and a little creativity.

National Poetry Month Events @ Broward County Library

Poetry Contest - In Celebration of National Poetry Month, South Regional/Broward College Library invites anyone ages 16 and up to submit your poem for a poetry contest. Poems may be in any style but must be no more than two pages in length. Please submit poems to or the AV/Pop and Reference desks at South Regional/Broward College Library. Please type/print full name, phone and/or email address at the bottom of the page. For more information, please call 954-201-8896.

  • April 1-30 – National Poetry Month Display: A Tribute to Amelia Earhart, Southwest Regional Library
  • April 1-30 – National Poetry Month Display, Davie/Cooper City Library
  • April 7 – Open Mic Poetry Readings for Adults, 2 p.m., North Lauderdale Saraniero Library
  • April 14 – Poetry Noir Workshop with Anastasia Clark, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Riverland Library
  • April 15-30 – National Poetry Month Display: A Tribute to Amelia Earhart, Stirling Road Library
  • April 18 – Poetry & the Creative Mind: An open-mic celebration of poetry, all ages, 5:30 p.m., African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
  • April 21 – Poetry Workshop led by NSU Professor Kate Ann Heidelbach, adults, 2 p.m., Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University
  • April 24 – Poetry Noir: A poetic tribute to Amelia Earhart and poetry workshop with Broward Poet-in-Residence Anastasia Clark, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Stirling Road Library
  • April 28 – Teen Poetry Get Together, ages 12 and up, 2 p.m., Davie/Cooper City Library

 Learn to read and write poetry with these resources @ BCL:

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Giving Their Word: Conversations with Contemporary Poets, compiled by Steven Ratiner More...
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Catching Life by the Throat: How to Read Poetry and Why, by Josephine Hart More...
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How to Read a Poem and Start a Poetry Circle, by Molly Peacock More...
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The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism, by John Lennard More...
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How to Read and Interpret Poetry, by Carole Doreski More...
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The Shape of Poetry: A Practical Guide to Writing Poetry More...
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Writing Poetry from the Inside Out, by Sandford Lyne More...
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How to Write Poetry, by Nancy Bogen More...
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The Mind’s Eye: A Guide to Writing Poetry, by Kevin Clark More...
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Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry, by Stephen Dobyns More...

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