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National Poetry Month: A Parting Song

Matthew Enfinger and Kiara Gunn

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April is coming to a close, and like many libraries, book stories, and schools across the country, Bob Jones celebrated National Poetry Month.

The Bob Jones media center showcased powerful quotes from poems, submitted by students and teachers, on the windows of the library to highlight the impact of poetry on our lives. The media center also had a Black Out Poetry station for students to make their own Black Out poems with pages from novels.

Cindy Huskey, Media Specialist and former English teacher at Bob Jones stated, “As a lover of the written word and as a former English teacher, poetry is like stories of life and inspiration that are condensed in these short little phrases. Often times it takes me longer to read through a collection of poetry than a four to five hundred page novel– just because you have to think about it.”

First celebrated in 1996, The Academy of American Poets developed the month after the success of the first Black History Month and Women’s History Month that occur each year in February and March. The Academy of American Poets stated their intent is to “encourage the reading of poems, assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms, increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media, encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and encourage support for poets and poetry.”

Kafui Sakyi-Addo, a member of the Bob Jones literary magazine The Eclectic, stated, “I feel that poetry should be celebrated because it makes people feel things in the same way that you can emotionally feel a song or piece of music. It’s different from any other form of writing, and I feel that it establishes a deeper connection to the reader than, say, a piece of prose.”

Senior Shandi Burrows created cardboard pockets and filled them with print-outs from classic and contemporary poems. She distributed them to English teachers and anyone else who wanted to participate. As a current The Eclectic staff member and as a future media specialist, Shandi said she wanted to do something tangible to promote literacy. “Literacy is very important for individuals and communities. Without literacy, it becomes very hard for communities to grow and progress.”

Mrs. Panagos, creative writing teacher and publications adviser, said, “A lot of kids wanted to pick a poem out of the pockets Shandi made. I asked each class if anyone wanted a poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day, and almost half of each class, oftentimes students I wouldn’t have expected, were excited to participate. Sometimes we need a little surprise to make the day more enjoyable, and I think if more students read poets of their own choosing, they would enjoy finding the surprises the right poem offers as well.”

Though National Poetry Month is over, students can enjoy poetry throughout the year. Interested underclassmen may want to consider participating in Poetry Out Loud next year or attending poetry slams at Lowe Mill.

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National Poetry Month: A Parting Song