August is right around the corner and what better way to spend it than by reading a poetry collection every single day? That’s right, 31 poetry books in one month. Nicole Sealey, poet, professor, and the namesake, in 2017, invented the seemingly impossible -- but completely doable! -- challenge to read a book every single day for the whole month of August.
How can this be done?
What better way to celebrate April than with poetry books! I am a bit biased as someone who reads poetry not only during National Poetry Month but every other month as well. But I’m here because I love poems and I want more people to love them too.
Studying it in college, reading it during my lunch breaks, and writing it in my spare time, I am very familiar with the eye rolls and shrugs I get from people when I mention poetry. And, believe me, I understand when they say they just don’t get it because I don't get all of it either. One of the most common responses I hear is that school ruined it for them because required reading sometimes has a way of doing that.The overanalyzing in high school English class, your teacher and their unforgiving red pen, deters readers and nonreaders alike from picking up some of these amazing writers that are doing incredible things with language. Like Billy Collins writes, "all they want to do / is tie the poem to a chair with rope / and torture a confession out of it." You don't need a rope, a chair, or a confession - I promise.
With February and thus Black History Month coming to an end, we wanted to compile this list of recommendations to encourage everyone to read books by Black authors all year long. There are titles from all different genres and even a couple pre-orders to look forward to. We hope you will read some of these incredible stories and continue to support and celebrate Black authors post-February and beyond.
April is National Poetry Month, and it fell this year on a historic moment both for having time to read and a need for the consolation and guidance of politically engaged verse. We live in interesting times: with a pandemic threatening and taking the lives of people all across the world, when our leaders and institutions have never seemed less adequate or less legitimate, the future of society itself seems to be in doubt. Now is not the time for light, or gentle, or confessional poetry of individual feelings, but for witnesses to history.