Sunday, March 31, 2019

My Project for National Poetry Month

From The Poem Farm Archives, 2017

Happy National Poetry Month Eve!  National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is a month-long celebration of all things poem.  You can learn more about this four weeks of literary joy, download or order a free (beautiful!) Poetry Month Poster, find 30 ways to celebrate, and get ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day at

Each year, for the past 10 years (!), along with many other writers, I choose to write and share a poem each day. It has been interesting for me to organize these poems around themes, and during the weeks before April, I find myself thinking about possible ideas.  Here's a timeline of my past Poetry Month projects.

2010 - Birth of The Poem Farm -  I wrote a poem each day for a month, beginning actually, on March 29, 2010. This blog just to be a one month project, just for me, to get me writing again as I awaited the publication of FOREST HAS A SONG.  At the end of April 2010, I was having too much fun to stop, decided to go for one whole year, publishing a poem at The Poem Farm each day.  And I stayed to post on Fridays.

2011 - Daily Poems Again - For each day of April 2011, I continued to write and share daily poems.  However, I had no theme as the blog was just entering its second year.

2012 - A-Z Dictionary Hike - Here's where the themes began.  Each day of April 2012, I opened my children's dictionary to a different letter, starting with A, ending with Z.  Eyes closed, I pointed to a word and this word became the title of that day's poem.

2013 - Drawing into Poems - For each day of April 2013, I slowed myself down and looked closely at an object, drawing it with black pen into my notebook. On some days, I wrote poems from these drawings, but on many days, I simply allowed the looking-drawing practice to practice becoming a closer observer.

2014 - Thrift Store - For each day of April 2014, I wrote a poem from a photograph of an item I found in a thrift store.  These poems are no longer at The Poem Farm.

2015 - Sing That Poem - For each day of April 2015, I wrote a poem to the meter of a well-known tune and challenged readers to match the poem to the tune by seeing if it was singable to the same meter. One of these singable poems ended up in my book WITH MY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT MAKING THINGS.

2016 - Wallow in Wonder - For my 2016 National Poetry Month project, I celebrated learning and writing from learning, writing poems from each daily Wonder at Wonderopolis.  I have not yet collected these posts into one post, but I may one day.

2017 - Writing the Rainbow - Each day of April 2017, I randomly selected a different Crayola crayon from a new box of 64.  Each day, I wrote a poem inspired by the color I chose.  These poems all ended up telling the story of a young city girl and the moments of her daily life and are no longer here at the blog.

2018 - 1 Subject *** 30 Ways - Last year, I wrote daily poems focused on the constellation Orion.  Each poem played with a different poetic technique, and I used the lessons in my own book, POEMS ARE TEACHERS: HOW STUDYING POETRY STRENGTHENS WRITING IN ALL GENRES, to stretch my writing.  These poems are not currently online.

And now, this year!

Students - This year, I will write a month of poems that when read together, will tell a story.  And the story will be one I began to tell last week, about John and Betsy. All of the poems will have three things in common: each will be written in John's voice, each will be 15 lines or shorter (not including spacing), and each will be written in free verse.

From The Poem Farm
Post Date - March 22, 2019

Each day I will share a new (first person, free verse, fewer than 15 lines not including spacing) poem, and each day I will offer a small thought about poem writing or notebook keeping, perhaps from something I noticed in writing that day's poem, or perhaps from elsewhere.  I look forward to learning what will happen.

June 3, 2019 Update - This 2019 project was a beautiful writing experience for me, and these John and Betsy poems are no longer here at The Poem Farm.

Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, you will find an inspiring post by Dr. Shari Daniels. Her post is filled with notebooking ideas, great photographs, and everything that makes me want to dive right into my own notebook.  And yes, there's a book giveaway too!  Please visit and comment if you are able.  I am grateful to Shari.

Each Friday of National Poetry Month, Heinemann has generously offered to gift a copy of my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS to someone who has commented during the week.  I will keep track of comments and will draw one name each Thursday evening, to be announced each Friday of the month.  Thank you, Heinemann!  To be entered into these drawings, please do leave a way to contact you along with your comment.

If you would like to learn more about other National Poetry Month projects happening throughout the Kidlitosphere, Jama has rounded up many NPM happenings over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Happy National Poetry Month 2019!


Please share a comment below if you 


  1. Each year I anticipate what you will do this month. And each year you stretch your writing wings to do something new and somewhat impossible. I look forward to John's journey.

  2. Amy, I am always impressed with the way your spend your April so this year's journey sounds interesting. Of course I want to know more about John. I like the line, "The wind felt his sadness."

  3. I love that you have been at it ten years, Amy. And I love this idea. Curious where it will lead.