As National Poetry Month comes to a close, we’re closing up our poetry inbox. All month, we’ve invited people to send us their own original poems, responding to a prompt each week.
We’ve heard from young kids and older folks, hospital workers and lab workers, people who’ve never written a poem in their lives and people who write for a living but have had writer’s block during the COVID-19 outbreak (and who got unstuck-enough to write a poem to share with us). Whether this has been an especially creative month for you or a month of dreary obstacles, thank you to everyone who wrote in. Here’s a recap of the month.
Week 1: “What a Difference a Month Makes.”
In reflecting on the changes from March to April, you poets told us about your shuttered neighborhood haunts and your eerily mundane routines. Your masks and your kids and your grocery lists. We know that everyone is making bread - it was in the poems. So were the endless sirens. The elasticity of time. The 7 o’clock cheers.
- Collection: 100+ Poems Responding to “What a Difference a Month Makes”
- Kid-Friendly Collection: Poems Responding to “What a Difference a Month Makes”
Listen below for a poetry reading by Mark Schulte on the Upper West Side. He shares his original poem responding to the above prompt, titled “The Ro Ro.”
Week 2: “Answer the Question You Wish Someone Would Ask You Right Now. (Make that question the title of your poem.)”
As we moved into mid-April, we learned that, for some of you, isolation was stirring long-dormant writing impulses.
“I'm not really in the habit of writing poems, but when a pandemic hit during National Poetry Month, it seemed like a good time to give it a shot — and bear witness to the historic moment,” said one new poet.
- Collection: 100+ Poems Responding to “Answer the Question”
- Kid-Friendly Collection: Poems Responding to “Answer the Question”
Listen below to hear Alanna Blair in Astoria, Queens answer the question they’d like to be asked: “What Could New York Have Done to Keep You From Leaving?” (They told us they’re moving at the end of April.)
Week 3: “Lessons learned.”
The final poetry challenge was meant to offer a chance to reflect on what’s changed and what we’ll take with us.
Listen below, where I'm sharing poems on the Brian Lehrer Show and talking about the poetry month challenge.