Literature National Poetry Month, April 2013

Published on April 1st, 2013 | by Timothy Thomas McNeely


Every Poem Another Soul

The adventure in reading new poetry is encountering another voice – a stranger, a friend, a sage, your better self, your worst. The voice might be speaking something familiar, something so intimate to your heart that you barely knew it was there. It might be speaking Swahili. It might be speaking in a crowded room and have to shout, or it might be the echo of a distant echo, barely audible. It might be a terrible speaker, and you may or may not care what it says. Regardless of these possibilities, you met someone new.

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and possibly the best chance you’ll have all year to meet someone new. Pick up a poem and someone speaks to you, inviting you to respond, soul to soul, even if the soul you meet is a silly one who just likes limericks.

Over the next several weeks there are a number of opportunities to read poetry yourself or hear someone else read some. You should try it both ways.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Post Defiance will be showing off more than our average amount of poetry over in our Literature section, including a new poem, “Change” by Faith Stevens. And see how you can contribute poetry here.


The Academy of American Poets started National Poetry Month in 1996. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events. My favorite is probably Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 18, on which day you simply make sure to pack a poem.

An extensive list of NPM events can be found on the Academy webpage if you’re in New York, Chicago, or even Ferndale, WA. But if you’re in Tacoma, Post Defiance recommends you check out some of the following options:

  • April 4, 7 p.m. – Poetry reading with Allen Braden (Tacoma poet), Rebecca Hoogs, Arlene Kim, Marjorie Manwaring, and Derek Sheffield (King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave Tacoma, WA 98402)
  • April 12, 7 p.m. – Distinguished Writer Series with Elizabeth Austen, author of Every Dress a Decision (2011) (King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402)
  • April 18, 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. – Poetry at Your Leisure poetry reading and opportunity to share (Pacific Lutheran University, Garfield Book Company Community Room, 12180 Park Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98447)
  • April 30, 7 p.m. – Poet, memoirist, and fiction author Sherman Alexie will be speaking (not about poetry) about his new collection of short stories, Blasphemy (Urban Grace Church, 902 Market St, Tacoma, WA 98402)

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About the Author

Most days, Timothy Thomas McNeely leads federal and state education program reviews for the State of Washington. Born in Tacoma, he studied poetry and philosophy in Canada and the United Kingdom. He is editor of the Community and Literature sections for Post Defiance, and writes poetry and prose whenever he can. He and his family live in Tacoma. Find him on Twitter as @ttmcneely.

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