National Poetry Month began in the US in 1996, spearheaded by the Academy of American Poets on the steps of a post office in New York City. There, the story goes, Academy staff members handed out copies of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land,” which begins, “April is the cruellest month…” to individuals waiting in line to mail their tax returns. Established in Canada in 1998, NPM now brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture.
April also celebrates Poem in Your Pocket Day each year! The day encourages people to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day. For more information about this initiative, visit poets.ca/pocketpoem. Poem in Your Pocket Day 2017 will take place on Thursday, April 27.
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH 2017
To think of time–of all that retrospection!
To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward!
From “To Think of Time” by Walt Whitman
This National Poetry Month, we celebrate time: its gifts, its history, its potential. We celebrate your ten-thousand-hour dedication to mastery. We celebrate your drafts, your notes, your failed projects, your future success. We celebrate the journey. We invite you to join us in celebrating the timeless journey of poetry this April: share the most important moments from your literary history, or tell us about the most exciting parts of your literary future.
From songs and the oral tradition to the page and beyond, time has traversed language, culture, and progress to give us an invisible and unbreakable framework for everything we do. As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, time perseveres: language, land, and community celebrate an ongoing history of their own. We want to take this National Poetry Month to reflect on time and all of its gifts, to acknowledge the past and look forward to what will come next.
The League is excited to be planning a month of time-related content on our blog and social media, and we encourage you to join in! We’ve prepared some suggestions on popular ways to get involved with NPM, which you can find here or you can download and share. Like us on Facebook, join us on Twitter, or check back here for regular updates and guest posts throughout April! Take part by tagging us @CanadianPoets, or using the hashtags #NPM17 or #poeticmoment. Find our official poster, bookmark, and other time-themed visuals here! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in receiving physical bookmarks or posters for your classroom, library, office, or event.
We encourage everyone to celebrate National Poetry Month this April regardless of theme: if you are hosting an event, planning a project, or spearheading an initiative this April for National Poetry Month, please let us know! Submit your event details using this contact form or email email@example.com and we’ll add you to our NPM events calendar! We love seeing how poets and groups interpret and use our theme, but we are also excited to see anywhere National Poetry Month takes you this year.
Find all of our NPM17 posts on our News page!
The League provides funding to a limited number of events across Canada that are organized with our theme—Time—in mind. Hosts may receive funding for up to four (4) readers, but poets may only receive one (1) funded reading. Funding is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so we do encourage early applications. Applications open January 15, 2017, and close February 28, 2017. Download our application form and guidelines here! Poets may not apply to fund their own reading, even if they are also an organizer; the signatory on the form must be a different person than the funded reader.
This funding is available for members and non-members who meet our criteria for full membership, with a full-length book of poetry or equivalent. For more details, including details on spoken word criteria, visit poets.ca/join.
SUBMIT YOUR EVENT
2016: THE ROAD
2014: POETRY CITY
2013: FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY!
2010: CLIMATE CHANGES
2009: POETRY PLANET
2008: POETRY WITHOUT BORDERS
2007: POETRY IN THE FUTURE
2006: LCP CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
2005 POSTER (no theme)
2004: POETS IN OUR COMMUNITIES