National Poetry Month 2021: Resilience
The League of Canadian Poets invites you to celebrate the 23nd National Poetry Month this April 2021 with the theme of resilience.
What does it mean to be resilient? We meet resilience in every corner we’ve been backed into, every hardship that we endure. Resilience is geographical, spiritual, historical. It’s the fight against climate change, the inner battle with mental health, the outcry for human rights and an end to systemic racism. Resilience is the backbone of generations of trauma, the silence at the dinner table, the bow to culture’s violin. Resilience is the courage to start each day anew. This NPM 2021, we celebrate, reflect on and respect the resilience that has made us who we are.
What will you read this National Poetry Month? What events will you organize, attend? Will you start your own poetry writing project? Will you write your first poem? Will you share your poetry on stage for the first time?
NPM Social Media & Posters
Join the #NPM2021 Conversation!
While you’re planning, check out some of our resources if you need a place to start: our “Get Involved” blog post suggests many ways to celebrate April, from hosting an event to setting a 30-day writing challenge; last year, we put together a blog post of suggested NPM activites for young readers that can be faciliated by educators, parents, and librarians; and we rounded up a few little ways to work poetry into your day-to-day here!
Poem in Your Pocket Day Returns – April 29, 2021
On April 29, 2021 we will celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day across Canada. The day encourages people to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.
Every year come April, we get so excited to read and promote poetry for four solid weeks as we celebrate National Poetry Month! We love getting to chat with poets, we love organizing our own events and seeing what comes into our calendar, and most of all we love seeing how all of you take part in the celebrations. If you want to do something special for National Poetry Month this year but you aren’t sure where to start, check out our suggestions for some popular ways to get involved!
While the League does prepare content to celebrate poetry, we’re always looking to see what else is going on! Using our hashtags and tagging us are the best way to share your NPM celebrations with us as well as with anyone else following the hashtags! We are @CanadianPoets on Twitter, and we’ll be following the hashtag #NPM2021 this year.
See our event calendar of events during NPM that are supported or funded by the League. We are thrilled to see all the incredible ways that poets and poetry-lovers are coming together in digital spaces this National Poetry Month.
Host an event
(visit our resources page for tips on organizing a literary event)
Invite between one and five local poets to share 5-15 minutes’ worth of their own poetry.
Open mic night
Sometimes open mic nights also feature one or two pre-booked readers who will read for slightly longer than the open mic readers, but not always! This could be strictly poetry, or could be a space for fiction writers, musicians, comics, and other intergenre artists to come and share their work. Open mic spots are usually about 3 minutes long: enough time for a song, a long poem, or a few shorter poems. Open mic nights usually last about an hour to an hour and a half, with breaks.
Interview or panel
Invite a poet (or a few) to discuss a new project of theirs! This is also a great way to talk about the creative process, and to hear how a popular poet may weigh in on the latest literary goings-on in Canada. Be sure to leave room for a Q&A session!
Spring is always chock full of book launches happening from coast to coast. You may be able to host a book launch for a local poet, or even organize a multi-book launch for several poets. If you are interested in organizing a book launch, consider contacting publishers ahead of time to see if they may be able to help you coordinate with the author!
The theme for NPM 2020 is “Resilience” and we encourage you to get creative with how you incorporate it! If you run a regular literary event, we hope you’ll consider making your April event poetry-themed and maybe even time-themed. Poets could read work they composed when they were younger, or could read first drafts of now-published work; you could pair established and emerging poets to read their own or each others’ work and discuss how they inspire or influence each other; consider honouring Canada’s history and inviting Indigenous poets to read at your event.
Share and Create
National Poetry Writing Month is a popular riff on NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing Month), although they are not officially associated with each other. Well, NaPoWriMo isn’t official at all, but it unofficially challenges writers to compose a poem a day throughout April to celebrate NPM. You can also sometimes find this challenge called 30 Days of Poetry. Many writers fall into the challenge free-form, writing about anything and everything, but others find or create guides to get them through the month: on April 1, write a poem about your childhood; on April 2, write a poem about….
Usually discoverable on social media under the hashtag #todayspoem, this initiative encourages users to share a poem—original or not—every day throughout April. You can find some readers and writers using the hashtag year-round, but its popularity surges in NPM and it’s a great way to discover new poets and performers through social media.
Individuals or groups can use NPM as an opportunity to set a poetry reading challenge for the month—or for more than just April! Set the challenge in a way that suits your lifestyle and will be a fun way to fit more poetry into your life. Whether it’s challenging yourself to discover and read one new book of poetry in April, or whether you want to read two books a week, a reading challenge will take your poetry consumption to the next level. You could even take it further and post about what you’re reading, or consider starting a National Poetry Month book club!
National Poetry Month aims to celebrate poetry in all its forms: if you usually like to read formal poetry, try checking out something different like a novel in verse, or poetry that challenges and subverts forms; if you have only ever loved poetry in book form, try checking out a spoken word showcase or a poetry slam; if you’re a performance poet to your core, try diving into a chapbook and seeing the poetry light up those hand-sewn pages. And if you don’t do poetry? What better time to start than now? The internet is full of incredible lists of recommendations for every non-poetry-lover: feminist poetry, spoken word poetry, emerging poets, political poets, and more. We promise poetry isn’t dead. We promise there’s a poem just for you, and we know someone wants to help you find it.
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.
Find all of our NPM posts on the NPM blog!
2018: 20TH ANNIVERSARY
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