Poetry and Journaling Resources for 4/13/2020

We’re nearly halfway through National Poetry Month, and it seems like a good time to offer some poetry resources. 

Favorite Poem Project
This is, perhaps, my favorite poetry resource of all time, and I’ve sifted through many, many, many.  Boston University’s Favorite Poem Project is a collection of well-produced videos showcasing everyday people reading their favorite poems and talking about why those poems are so meaningful to them.  A construction worker relates how he found encouragement in Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” a student from South Boston discusses how the teens of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool” mirror today’s young people who find themselves victims of the opioid crisis, a computer science professor shows us how he uses Robert Frost’s poem “For Once, Then, Something” as inspiration when he feels stuck….  Why does poetry matter?  These videos answer that question in so many ways.

The Social Distancing Reading Series
The Green Mountains Review presents a new reading each Wednesday and Sunday.

You’ve heard of NaNoWriMo?  National Novel Writing Month (November) has gotten a lot of press over the years.  But poets have their own month, too, and we’re smack dab in the middle  it!  A poem a day for 30 days.  Today is day 13, but, you can start your own NaPoWriMo any time (and doesn’t the current stay-at-home order seem tailor-made for budding writers?).  Just commit to a poem each day for 30 days.  You can use the NaPoWriMo site for daily prompts (just start on day 1 of any year and work your way to day 30).

Perhaps, one of your NaPoWriMo poems would be a perfect fit for The Academy of American Poets. They’re using the hashtag #ShelterInPoems to invite readers to share poems that help them find courage, solace or energy — and a few words about why.

And, speaking of writing during the stay-at-home order….

Telling Our Stories in the Age of COVID-19
We’re living in a unique and disquieting time.  There’s a lot of fear, a lot of questions, and, for many of us, a lot of reflection.   Journaling can help us put it all into perspective.  Keeping a daily journal can bring our focus back to what truly matters.  It can offer insight and clarity, reduce stress, and bring us back to the moment.  If you’d like to share your journal entries with others, check out Telling Our Stories.  Here’s their website description: “To join our storytelling community, simply sign up and look for daily journal links in your e-mail. Add journal entries daily or simply as often as you can. Use the journal to share what you are noticing, witnessing, feeling, longing for, and experiencing. The project will continue until it is clear that we are on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. When we are all done, we will put together a snapshot of stories from everyone who visited that will go to everyone who participated. No participant names or other identifying information will be included in any publications from this project.  Write daily or a few times a week, post pictures or stick with text, share anything you are noticing – there are no rules. Just come share your story and know that we are in this together.” 

Also, if you’re able to read stories at The New York Times, The Quarantine Diaries is a wonderful article about journaling during the pandemic.

And, before I go, I want to remind you about ArtisTree’s weekly Exploring Self through Expressive Arts for teens.  This is a peer-led Zoom group that meets for 90-minutes Mondays at 5:00 and allows high school students to discover creativity in a variety of art modalities found at home. No experience necessary, just openness to finding creative things to connect with while in quarantine.  Anyone interested can email Ben Fox to be sent the Zoom meeting link.

Here’s to a wonderful, wonder-filled week. 

Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind,