Jill Krementz Photo Journal: Celebrating National Poetry Month

Featured image
Yehuda Amichai.

It’s April and that means in addition to showers and flowers, we are celebrating National Poetry Month.

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, and celebrating its 25th anniversary, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.

Eight of the poets I’ve included have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, the most recent recipient being Louise Glück.

Billy Collins just celebrated his 80th birthday by launching a poetry reading on his website.

A portrait of Adrienne Rich by artist Alice Neel hangs at the Metropolitan Museum in Neel’s recently opened retrospective.

Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaiden’s Tale, has now written a sequel, The Testaments (Nan A. Talese), set 15 years after the first book ends.

James Merrill was an avid letter writer and his correspondence has been co-edited by Langdon Hammer and
and Stephen Yenser for A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill in a book due on April 6th. (Penguin/Random House).

Yusef  Komunyakaa’s new book of poetry, Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems, 2001-2021, is scheduled for June 15th.

Kevin Young, in addition to being The New Yorker’s poetry editor, is the new director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Another upcoming highlight: Amanda Gorman (who won the hearts of our nation at President Biden’s Inauguration, with the recitation of “The Hill We Climb”) has a new book out that includes this poem and others.

When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

It’s no wonder April is National Poets Month.  The poets, like bunny rabbits, are jumping!

Maya Angelou.
John Ashbery.
Margaret Atwood.
W. H. Auden.
Robert Bly.
Gwendolyn Brooks.
Sophie Cabot Black.
Lucille Clifton.
Billy Collins.
James Dickey.
Mark Doty.
Rita Dove.
Bob Dylan.
Carolyn Forché.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Allen Ginsberg.
Nikki Giovanni.
Louise Glück.
Donald Hall.
Robert Hass.
Robert Hayden.
Michael Harper.
Seamus Heaney.
Anthony Hecht.
Galway Kinnell and Anne Sexton.
Yusef Komunyakaa.
Maxine Kumin.
Stanley Kunitz.
Philip Levine.
Robert Lowell.
Archibald MacLeish.
James Merrill.
W.S. Merwin.
Czesław Miłosz.
Marianne Moore.
Pablo Neruda.
Mary Oliver.
Octavio Paz.
Robert Pinsky.
Adrienne Rich.
Muriel Rukeyser.
Sonia Sanchez.
Ntozake Shange.
Charles Simic.
Gary Snyder.
Gerald Stern.
Allen Tate.
Robert Penn Warren.
Richard Wilbur.
James Wright.
Kevin Young.
I will end with this photograph — A group picture of Mark Strand, Joseph Brodsky, Adam Zagajewski, and Derek Walcott taken in Brodsky’s Garden during the International PEN Conference. Adam died last month at the age of 75 in his homeland, Krakow, Poland.

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