Sunday Jun 25

HopenthalerYear5 I’ve just returned from El Paso, where I enjoyed a great couple of days, giving a reading, being interviewed, and chatting with students from UTEP’s bi-lingual MFA program, as well as other folks from El Paso’s unique community. I can think of no better way to prime my pump for National Poetry Month, a month where I, like many poets, find myself on the road. This year, I’m making seven appearances in five states.

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, April has become a boon month for poets of all stripes who are asked to visit schools, libraries, bookstores, fairs, and businesses to perform and respond to questions. For those of us who live the life, every month is poetry month, of course. Still, the month provides us opportunities to do what we can, to insist poetry is vital to culture, to act as ambassadors and maybe sell a few books in the bargain. Nothing wrong with that.

According to the Academy’s web site, these are the specific goals we hope to achieve with the celebration:


  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry

Nothing wrong with that.