Poets are notoriously late for everything, so it makes sense that a column celebrating April as National Poetry Month would come in the latter half of the month. Cheers!
Being a poet in Tucson—or being a poet anywhere, for that matter—comes with distinct advantages. For starters, you can ignore that thing called being on time. Then you have that peachy perk called poetic license.
Poetic license lets you misspell and even invent your own words. You also get to make up your own grammar rules. Tis loads. Of fun. You should.
Try it sometime.
You can also take the license a notch further and come up with your own versions of the truth, a thing my mom calls “selective memory.” She still swears she has no recollection of blaming me for the dark caramel swirled into the living room’s white carpet that was actually caused by the grubby kid visiting from next door.
The major downside to being a poet, of course, is the pay. Although I have nabbed several paid performances and awards—like my tie for first place in a suicidal poetry contest—my overall poetry career has so far netted me less than $500. That’s not counting the free hatchet I once received for writing the creepiest Halloween poem.
National Poetry Month seems like the epitome of a Hallmark holiday invented to sell more cards. After all, a big chunk of cards are splattered with poetry, or at least attempts at it. “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m sending this card ’cause I love you.”
April’s poetic designation, however, actually came from the Academy of American Poets. The academy kicked off the celebration in 1996, choosing April based on the academy’s thought that April would garner the most participation.
Besides, March and February were already taken by celebrations of women’s history and black history, respectively. January is just too dismal to celebrate much of anything due to maxed-out credit cards from holiday shopping. Thus, April it was, and has been for 16 years.
So why don’t more people seem to care?