April 12, 2016

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Almost April -- Get Thee to Some Poetry

Busier than the December holidays, and just as much fun, National Poetry Month begins on Sunday, April 1.

There is so much going on this month. For me, April truly is a frenzy of writing, teaching and parenting. Here is my top ten list of literary activities:

10) Passover and Easter
Our family will be celebrating both, and both religious celebrations have a literary element. Every year my husband, his parents, and the children attend their church's Passion Play. I make a small Seder for the family, where we read and revisit the story of the Jews flight from slavery Egypt. (And I make Miss Jennie's ah-mazing Matzo Candy. The Matzo is just there to hold the chocolate toffee.)

9) On the parenting front...
My son and I will spend National Poetry Month training. We are competing in a Warrior Dash in May. This means that after a long (10 year) break, I am back to running. How is this literary? We get free Viking hats to wear at the run. I will be singing from Wagner's Ring Cycle as I hurdle over the fire pits. Singing is one of my favorite ways to embarrass the children.

8) An Die Musik Reading, Baltimore
April 28, 8 PM.

Michael Salcman, LPR's Art Editor and one of my poetry mentors, is performing his poems set to music. I am really looking forward to "Songs of Salcman."

Michael Salcman
7) Blackbird Poetry Festival, Howard Community College, Columbia, MD
Thursday, April 26, 10 AM - 9:30 PM
Keep a poem in your pocket or the Poetry Police will ticket you. Really. This festival includes free afternoon events. There's also an evening reading with Kim Addonizio -- tickets are required.

6) Conversations and Connections Writers Conference, Washington, DC
Saturday, April 21
I've never been to this annual conference before, but it's supposed to be great for networking. I'm signed up to do "Speed Dating with the Editors." Also look for me on a poetry panel, "Tell It Like It Is: Narrative Poetry in Today's Market" with Holly Bass of Busboys & Poets, Melanie Henderson of Tidal Basin Review, Shakeema Smalls of the student-run Amistad journal and Kim Roberts of Beltway Poetry Quarterly.

5) Poetry Residencies
Maryland State Arts Council's Artist-in-Education Program
I have been teaching for MSAC for ten years! This month, I start two poetry residencies. The first is at Swansfield Elementary in Columbia. The students and I will be doing workshops on portrait poems, song parodies (great for teaching rhythm and rhyme), and we should be receiving some poetry postcards from Jone McCullough's classes in Washington state. By the end of the month, I'll be doubling up. Swansfield ES in the morning, heading to Northfield ES and the third grade in the afternoons.

4) CityLit Festival, Baltimore
Saturday, April 14, Enoch Pratt Free Library -- Doors open 10 AM
The journal I edit, Little Patuxent Review, will have a table at this great annual festival. II am so excited about this year. Thomas Lux! Edward Hirsch! LPR has a reading at 11:30, featuring some of our contributors to the recent Social Justice issue AND the winner of Pratt's poetry contest -- a partnership with LPR -- will have his poem unveiled in the huge front windows of the library. Big congrats to Joe Ross.
Joe's poem will be displayed in Pratt's enormous front windows.
3) Yoga Workshop for Writers
Saturday, April 28, 12 PM
I am joining novelist and certified yoga instructor Danuta Hinc in leading this workshop, specifically designed for writers and other artists. We'll be doing yoga, guided meditation, and writing or sketching. The key is using yoga as a basis for opening ourselves to the creative source. You can sign up in advance through Coreworks, Columbia.

2) Poetic Formal, Village Learning Place, Baltimore
Thursday, April 26, 6:30-9 PM FREE
Some time ago, I got a crazy idea that we should do a Poetic Formal. You know, read form poetry while dressed in formal attire. And by formal attire, I mean Beastly Bridesmaid gowns and Bad Blue Tuxedos. Poets Shirley Brewer, Clarinda Harriss, Bruce Sager and I are "chaperoning" the formal, which includes prizes for your ensemble and an open mic. Thrift store couture is encouraged but not required. How cool is it that our event is listed at

And my number one literary activity...

1) Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC

My 12-year-old Bard Buff is on spring break next week. I have never been to the Folger Shakespeare Library and NPM is the perfect time for a literary girls' day out. (We're also hoping to go see Into the Woods at Baltimore's Center Stage.) Maybe this summer, when we visit the U.K., we'll check out a play at the new Globe theater.

All this month, Author Amok will host poets writing in about their favorite, tried and true, or strangest writing habits. I'll post the full schedule tomorrow. Happy April!


Lisa said...

I love the yoga and writing idea. I have always wanted to do something like that with a friend of mine who teaches yoga. You will have to tell us how it goes. Also, I love the picture of you singing on the Warrior Dash, embarrassing your offspring. Isn't that one of the greatest joys of parenthood?

Author Amok said...

Hi, Lisa. I will let you know how it goes. We're really excited out it.

Yes, I take great joy in teasing my children. Lucky for me, they know I am joking and don't get too upset (most of the time).

Robyn Hood Black said...

What an amazing month you have lined up! And, "I will be singing from Wagner's Ring Cycle as I hurdle over the fire pits" - That sure beats the run-of-the-mill skipping in public I've always used to embarrass my children....

Author Amok said...

Hi, Robyn. It's the only exercise I could get him to do. I hope my ankle is up to the task. Yes, singing works great for embarrassing my kids. (They tell me the fire pit is smaller than it looks.)

Tabatha said...

Love your post title. I am hoping to go to the Folger too! Hope you have a wonderful month.

Author Amok said...

Tabatha -- maybe we should organize a day to go together.