Celebrating National Poetry Month
For the next 30 days, we're challenging Bostonians to reflect on, be moved by, and be energized by poetry.
After this difficult year, the impact of poetry is particularly valuable. It helps us express ourselves in a unique way. Below is a list of virtual poetry events happening this month, and daily writing prompts curated by our Poet Laureate, Porsha Olayiwola. We'll also be highlighting a poet every day of the month on the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels. We encourage you to experiment with your own creativity and do some writing this month!
|April 1||Inside @ Manship: Uninterrupted Time|
|April 2-3||HOME Poetry Series|
|April 5-10||Northeastern University Writers Week|
|April 5||Native Americans and the National Consciousness - Virtual Reading and Conversation with Joy Harjo|
|April 7||Poets Series: torrin a. greathouse: Poetry, Disability, Trans Identity|
|April 10 - 11, register by April 8||Wicked Loud Youth Poetry Festival|
|April 12||The Power of Poetry|
|April 14||How to Love the World: A Poetry Anthology Reading|
|April 15||Vocarium Reading Series: Anne Boyer and Lyn Hejinian|
|April 15 - 17||Boston National Poetry Month Festival|
|April 21||Mayor’s Poetry Program Reading
|April 22||T.S. Eliot Memorial Reading: Claudia Rankine|
And don't forget to save the date for the inaugural Roxbury Poetry Festival on June 5, 2021!
Daily writing promptsWriting prompts
- What is everything you’ve never said? Go.
- Tell us about a history you’ve survived. Intertwine the tale with a story about a time when you accomplished a mundane task like making coffee or cutting the grass.
- Which sound did you follow to arrive here? Write the song, tell the story.
- Novelist, Toni Morrison writes: "All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was." Which part of your body (hair, toe, elbow, leg, etc.) has a perfect memory? What is the memory? What or where is it trying to get back to?
- Go to page 33 of the book nearest you. Use the last full sentence on the page as the muse for your first line.
- Who is it that watered your lake with wilted flowers Why?
Imagine the Big Bang Theory as the birth of you. Write your childhood as cosmology.
- Describe the birthday party you threw for your favorite writer. Who came? What did you all eat? Who had to stay the night on the couch?
- Write the autobiography of your grandfather’s hands.
- Write an elegy for the person you used to be.
- Poet and writer Carl Phillips states, “Technically, the weight of pain is the weight of shadow.” Write a poem in which you leave your shadow behind. Where do you leave it? In whose mouth? From what did you run from when you left it behind? Do you want it back? And what then?
- What word or phrase do you use entirely too often? Write a ghazal using the phrase or word as repetition.
- Write an ode to your stomach. Pen a praise song to your belly. Write a love poem to the very gut of you.
- Write a recipe for joy.
- What is the thing you are obsessed with? The thing you return to? Love? Coffee? Music? Write 22 haikus about it.
- Scroll through your phone’s camera and go to photo number 11. Write the story of the photo from the perspective of an inanimate object pictured.
- Look up an event that occurred “on this day in history” and tell the story, as if you are a character there, but change the ending. Disrupt and restructure the story with magic.
- Write a poem in the form of text messages between you and your favorite fictional character.
- In his poem “Annabel Lee”, Edgar Allen Poe once wrote “We loved with a love that was more than love.” When was a time you loved and it was more than love? If not love, what was it? Give this new "love" a more fitting name.
- Your body is a country — write your pledge of allegiance to it. Do you pledge to it? And what of its flag?
- Tell the story of a scar. Insert a lie when you rewrite the story.
- Tell us about the time you and your favorite singer or musician got into an argument. Where did it take place? How did it start? Who won the fight?
- What do you wish to unremember? Write it, but in reverse chronological order.
- Cast a spell for everyone you've ever loved.
- Write a poem about your mother as a plant. Which plant are you? What garden are you both in? What garden are you both not in?
- If you could travel to the future, which monumental life moment would you go visit? Who from the past do you see? What are they wearing? What do they say to you? Write about the reunion or disunion.
- Think of a person you love dearly. It can be a family member, a friend, a fictional, or historical person. Imagine what it would be like to be their shadow. Write a day in the life of the shadow. What do you learn about the person that might surprise us all. What do you learn about yourself?
- Start the poem with a joke.
- Pick an insect and study its life cycle. What do you learn about how it lives? Explain how its life cycle is exactly like that of love.
- Perform an erasure of your most dreaded poem.