This year, April marks the 25th anniversary of celebrating National Poetry Month! Created in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is a reminder of the integral role of poets and poetry in life and literature.
Reading poetry with your book club is a wonderful way to discuss different topics and talk about the ways in which poets approach their writing (in the ways they use voice, syntax and other literary devices to speak to the reader).
If your club isn’t dedicated to reading poetry or hasn’t read poetry together before, here are three easy ways to dip your toes into poetry!
- Select a poetry collection for your club, and have each member select one poem from the book to share during your next meeting. You can discuss how the poet addresses specific themes or topics through their poetry, and how different poems make each member feel. What happens if two members select the same poem to share?
- Have each member of your club come to your next meeting with a favorite poem to share from any book or poems or collection. Have each member read their poem aloud and share why they chose it. Was it a poem that they remember from their teenage years or discovered when they were an adult? What memories do they associate with the poem?
- Have the poem select the reader! Sign up for Poem-A-Day from poets.org to have a poem by a contemporary poet emailed to you each day in April, or visit the online repository of John Giorno’s Dial-A-Poem project from the 1960s and ‘70s. Schedule a book club meeting to discuss the poems that caused each member of your group to pause and reflect. What does each poem convey about the place and time in which it was written?
If you want to include poetry in your book club meetings, you can link to a poem using the Meeting feature on Bookclubz! Just go to the ‘Add a book’ option when you create a new meeting, and you will see a check box that says ‘Add a link for article, film or other meeting material.’ Check this box, and you can copy a link to your poem and paste it here to include it in your club’s meeting details.
Whether you decide to host a book club meeting to talk about poetry exclusively, or begin to share a poem each meeting (or in an ongoing discussion as part of your club’s Messages!), we hope these tips will help you expand your reading horizons and spark discussion with your club members!