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National Poetry Month

April 12, 2011

The League of Canadian Poets founded and sponsors National Poetry Month, a time to promote Canadian poetry in all its forms. The theme for 2011 is nurture/nourire so I’ve been cranking my brain to write some nurturing poetry, or at the very least read some!

There’s a rich variety of poets across our country and it got me thinking about how far we can truly push the form. Two years ago I would have never considered myself “a poet” the title reeking with the responsibility to be spectacularly well versed, a master of metre, a trickster of words, a code only those with post-secondary schooling could decipher. People always tell me, “I don’t get poetry” and two years ago I’d argue, “I get some poetry, but not enough to write it.”

Now more than ever I am fully committed to poetics, in all of its shapes and forms. All poetry is are words assembled to evoke emotion. Poetry can be true to metre and rhythm and structure, which is its own challenge. Or poetry can be voice, the way an individual speaks. Poetry can be performance based, or it can be infused with alternative media. There are so many places poetry can go, and here are only a few examples of how different poetry can be.

SPOKEN WORD and the birth of the SLAM:

From Def Jam Poetry

Check out: Toronto Poetry Slam, Brave New Voices, Def Jam Poetry


Courtesy of

Check out: Lillian Allen, Linton Kwesi Johnson, d’bi.young


Toronto Poetry Vendors are refurbished gum vending machines spitting out bite-sized poems by local Toronto poets and their individually wrapped! Yum!


Check out: Toronto Poetry Vendors


Image from Flickr

Photograph by Whitney French, Graffiti in Montreal, QC

Check out: Wooster Collective, STREETSY


From "Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes

From "One" by Mary Oliver


Image from Montreal Zen Poetry Festival site

Check out: Basho, Lucien Stryk, Roo Borson


Typoems: using keyboard symbols to create a poetic image

A cutting poem

Code poetry: the use of HTML code to create a poem


Code is Poetry

Check out: Anipoems (animated digital poetry)
This one is called “Deseo”

Go forth this April and discover different forms of poetry both old and new. Whether your are committed to verse or you were like me and “couldn’t get it”, give poetry a try. Poetry has a way of relating with everyone.

For more information about National Poetry Month, check out the League’s blog here.


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