5 poetry challenges to enrich your reading life

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I was deeply in love with poetry for most of my days, but fell even harder for the genre in college. In the English composition, the assigned anthology featured My Hungry Brain to poems by Louise Erdrich, Audre Lorde, Cathy Song and Gary Soto, among others. The tissue paper pages led me down the aisles of my community college library, where I searched for other poets, in search of a magnificent language to draw me in, immerse me in wonder and pass the time.

Prior to grade one, most of the poetry I had encountered consisted of rhyming lines displaying drab classroom walls and the work of dead white guys. I did not know where to find contemporary poets and poems. Especially the ones I could connect to in those mysterious and obvious ways that immerse bibliophiles in total book worship.

Whether you crave more poetry or just love to strive towards reading goals, these five poetry challenges can serve as a boost to create space for more poetry in your life. In addition, they can connect you with a community of poetry readers, expose you to new works and writers, and much more. Some poetry challenges you can start today, and you can freeze time specific ones in your calendar. Scribble hearts around them so you won’t forget. (I did.)

1. Poem per day

If you’re interested in a daily engagement, visit Poets.org to sign up for the ever-popular Poem-a-Day newsletter. More than 250,000 people have signed up to receive a “new” poem each weekday and a “classic” poem each weekend day. Each month, a different guest editor leads the weekday posts. Recent editors include Fatimah Asghar, Anaïs Duplan and Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Beast Meridian blanket

As a recipient of the Poem-a-Day newsletter, I cherish the start of my mornings with poetry. Reading the selections after waking up keeps me in that dream headspace before dishes, emails, groceries, and work. The daily missive highlights the featured poem and a recording, so you can read the poem, listen to the poem, or both. Not so long ago, I read “I was a good wife»By Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, the author of meridian of the beast, and my thoughts continue to circle the breathtaking poem chosen by r. erica doyle, july guest editor and author of Proxy.

2. National / World Poetic Writing Month (Na / GloPoWriMo)

Blanket The Year of Blue Water

If you prefer shorter engagements, National / World Poetry Writing Month takes place every April during National Poetry Month. For Na / GloPoWriMo, poetry lovers write “30 poems in 30 days. “Often sitting at my desk and waiting for the muses, I look for authors and pieces that move me: Cape Verdean blues by Shauna Barbosa, Postcolonial love poem by Natalie Diaz, and The year of blue water by Yanyi. Maybe writing poems will make you read poems too.

A bit of history: Thinking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Maureen Thorson started writing one poem a day on April 18 and posting it on her blog. As more joined in, Thorson, along with designers, created the NaPoWriMo website. Throughout April, its daily offers promote a featured attendee, featured read, and write invite. This year the readings, pre-recorded or live events, highlighted Victoria Chang, Ross Gay, Joy Harjo, and more. If you’re in the mood for a poetry invite, 2021’s “Day seventeen»Asks the poets« to write a poem which speaks or which involves the moon ».

3. The Rumpu National Poetry Month project

In the announcement of “The Rumpu National Poetry Month project 2021», Writes Marisa Siegel,« Each year, The Rumpu celebrates National Poetry Month with new poems from poets we admire. We feature a different poet each day, with the aim of illustrating a variety of voices and perspectives in contemporary poetry. Some of the poets featured this year include Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Tarfia Faizullah, and Omotara james. This celebration has graced the Internet since 2010, and indulging in content from previous years is a delicious challenge. Marianne Chan, Paige lewis, Xandria phillips, Jake Skeets, and Tracy K. Smith are among the former featured poets.

4. The Sealey Challenge

Ordinary Beast Blanket

If you’re committing to a month, consider the Sealey Challenge, named by Dante Michel after Nicole Sealey, founder of the Challenge and author of Ordinary beast and The animal named after other animals. Since its first month of August in 2017, participants have read a book of poetry or a complete collection every day for 31 days. On social networks, people share “shelf[s]”Of stacks of books, covers, poems and excerpts using the hashtags #TheSealeyChallenge and #SealeyChallenge.

In July, the Challenge, which focuses on “marginalized poetsAnd encourages participants to buy their books from independent bookstores nearby, his official site. It gives useful tips for a successful August as well as recent news and the expansion of the TBR list. reading recommendations like that of Chen Chen When I grow up I want to be a list of other possibilities, Donika Kelly Renouncements, and that of Ada Limón Luminous dead things.

5. Create your own poetry challenge

Many poetry challenges exist because of the others. Sealey September and # SevenWomenPoets are “branching out[s]Of the Sealey Challenge. In May, National / World Poetry Review Month follows Na / GloPoWriMo. So why not borrow what fits your current life from these exciting challenges and invite other poetry enthusiasts to participate?

If you find yourself inspired by others, please thank the beautiful minds who imagined the challenges. And, of course, credit the poets who wrote the poems reorganizing your world, the publishers who helped bring the work into the world of readers, the translators who introduced the work into another language, the local bookstore. whose booksellers have sold you by hand the collection you are obsessed with your library to store poetry books, and so on.


Whether you’re new to poetry or a longtime fan, I keep my fingers and toes crossed that these poetry challenges either make you – like me – fall head over heels or forge a deeper connection to the genre. At the very least, hopefully this will inspire you to prioritize poetry in your reading life. If you want to indulge in poetry, some useful resources include 50 Best Must-Read Poetry Books and Where to Find Free Poetry Online.



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