Tuesday, March 31, 2020

National Poetry Month 2020!

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 poets.org.

Each year, for the past 11 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 - Each day of April 2018, 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.

2019 - Tell a Poemstory - Last year's Poetry Month project was a series of 30 free verse poems that told a story about a boy named John and a dog named Betsy and a lady named Betsy. I am so happy to report that these will be soon published by Eerdmans.


For this year's poetry project, I have decided to introduce surprise. Each April day:
  • I will share a POEMS CAN phrase about writing poetry.
  • I will roll three word dice.
  • If a die rolls blank, I will not reroll it.
  • I will write a poem inspired by 1, 2, or all 3 of the face-up words.
I welcome anyone who wishes to join me in playing ROLL THE DICE!  You are welcome to write from the words I roll, to fold up your own words on scraps of paper and draw from there, to point to random words in a book and be inspired...or to choose a word from your mind and heart.

During this strange time, I am giving daily writing chats from Betsy the Writing Camper, and those will also match this project. I will crosspost the videos in both places. Feel free to comment with your poem if you wish. Happy National Poetry Month Eve to all!

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 leave your e-mail address or Twitter name so that I can contact you if you win.

To learn about many wonderful National Poetry Month projects happening throughout the Kidlitosphere this April, visit Jama's warm and whimsical blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Feel free to comment with your poem if you wish. Happy National Poetry Month Eve to all.

Please share a comment below if you wish.day 


  1. So excited to have my students participate remotely! I’ve actually been counting the days. Happy Poetry month, Amy!

  2. Such a fun plan for this year, Amy. I'll be sharing with my student poets! This year I'm writing from words or phrases mined from Thoreau's journals. I'm calling it #ThoreaulyInspired. Today I'm writing about robin birdsong. Happy NPM! xx Christie https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/i-heard-the-first-real-robins-song-thoreaulyinspired-npm-napowrimo-nationalpoetrymonth/

  3. I have loved watching your writing chats from Betsy! Actually, I would love to have a Betsy. Looking forward to watching you roll the dice this month.

  4. Love your camper, Amy! You are always inspiring!

  5. Wow! I am so glad I found this site. I am currently teaching a unit of writing in poetry. This site is a gold mine! Thank you for what you are producing and providing. I can't believe I didn't find you sooner. I love seeing all the different themes for Poetry Month over the years. So clever! This year's theme sounds fun! I will definitely follow along. I've already told my students all about this site.
    Thank you!
    Jennifer Olson
    2nd Grade Teacher
    Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School
    San Diego, CA

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! You won the copy of POEMS ARE TEACHERS! I hope you enjoy it. Thank you, too, for your kind words. You can find a linked list of all of these lessons and more HERE - bit.ly/KeepingANotebook. I will send your information to Heinemann, and you will receive your book as soon as they are able to get it out. Peace, Amy

    2. Will you please send me your home address to amy at amylv dot com? Heinemann is not currently mailing books to school addresses. Thank you so much!

  6. I am so excited to do this. I love writing poetry and I am a teacher. Super excited to share this with my class and get some really great work. Thank you for the inspiration. Megan Waugh mwaugh@pjschools.org

  7. Dear Amy, You have given me such wonderful inspiration. Thank you so much for your inspiring prompts and poetry and your wonderful positive attitude. Thank you, Linda Trott Dickman

  8. I loved the poems from "Writing the Rainbow". Will this collection become a book? I hope so.