April Is National Poetry Month

Christopher D. Sims
3 min readApr 3, 2024


Indeed, it is, a month set aside for the recognition, the celebration, of the written and spoken word. April is a time for poets to be recognized; a time for works of poetry to be read. It is also a time for poets or spoken word artists to be celebrated. Acknowledging National Poetry Month is a great time for the art of writing poetry to be front and center in the United States.

My earliest experience of poetry were 1980s rap artists I heard growing up on the west side of Rockford, Illinois. Although we tend to not think of rap as poetry, or categorize it as such, rap lyrics is very much poetry. The rhymes, the images and pictures painted in rap music, are all pieces of what is poetic.

I later learned about poets such as William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and others of their time, when I attended high school. As I got older, I could see the similarities in rap lyrics and in poems written by those fore-mentioned poets.

While taking an African American History class at Auburn High School, poets such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Haki Madhubuti, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Nikki Giovanni became more prominent in my understanding and discovery of poetry. Reading their work, as well as experiencing their styles of poetry, helped increase my thirst for the written as well as the spoken word. In this country we get to claim these legendary wordsmiths during National Poetry Month and beyond.

Across the nation National Poetry Month is a time where poetry events of all kinds take place. Venues all over the United States find ways to continue to bring recognition of National Poetry Month. A poet myself, I celebrate National Poetry Month yearly. I collaborate with arts venues or organizations — also other poets — to put on at least one event where poetry is at the center. It is an engaging, festive time to provide communities and poetry lovers with poetry.

What encourages me, even subconsciously, is my love and respect for the movie Love Jones. Since it was released in 1997, Love Jones has had a huge effect on what poetry should sound like. This spoken word poetry performance, in my humble opinion, is one of the best spoken word poetry performances I have seen:

Love Jones undoubtedly contributed to the spoken word poetry movement with this magical scene displaying the art of the spoken word. Many poets and poetry venues collaborated to produce poetry or spoken word shows with the name Love Jones. The dimly lit cafe or jazz club environment with a live band was perfect for poetry, for spoken word. It was what was needed at the time.

I have been to poetry venues in Hartford, CT, in Chicago, IL, in Beloit, WI, in Milwaukee, WI, in Madison, WI, in Valdosta, GA, in Houston, TX, in Manchester, NH, in Memphis, TN, in East Harlem, NYC, in Brooklyn, NYC, in Charlottesville, VA, in Richmond, VA, in Fredericksburg, VA, in Washington, DC, and in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

All of these cities, and many others, contribute to the celebration, the existence of poetry. Poetry or spoken spoken word poetry is happening all the time. Eager supporters and listeners are flocking to poetry venues to hear poets do what we do.

Where you going to listen to poetry?

Who is your favorite poet?

Who are some of your favorite spoken word artists?

Does your middle school, high school, or college or university have poetry slams or invite local poets to come and share their poetry?

I encourage everyone to find a book of poetry to read, attend an open mic or poetry slam this month, and afterwards!

Poetry is a universal language.

Poetry is a beautiful way for thoughts, feelings, or emotions to be shared.

We can come together around poetry to learn of progressive ideas, movements, or conversations. Poetry feeds the nation.

Happy National Poetry Month!



Christopher D. Sims

Writer, performance artist, and activist who writes about racism, anti-Blackness, and human rights struggles. A voice for truth and righteousness.