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National Poetry Month: Where to listen, read and wax poetic around Seattle

Lines from the poem “An Old Story” by Tracy K. Smith.

Artwork: Julia Wang


This adorable 3-year-old can recite former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins’ “Litany” from memory. #Goals.

As a mother who loves poetry, I’m feeling a little ashamed that my preschoolers don't know who Billy Collins is.  They may not be ready for a poetry slam just yet, but they can recite "Mary had a Little Lamb," so they’re close.

If you have budding young poets in your family, or if you love  to read poems to your kids (who doesn't?!), there are wonderful opportunities this month to write, read, listen to and appreciate the power of poetry.

April is National Poetry Month, the largest celebration in the world where schools, publishers, libraries, bookstores and poets come together to honor poetry’s vital place in our culture. Here’s where you can celebrate around Seattle.


10 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in Seattle


Drop Everything and Read

Friday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Seattle Children’s Museum

Read poetry, write poetry, listen to poetry read aloud by guest authors, and enjoy other hands-on activities throughout the day. For children in grades Pre-K through 8.

National Poetry Month Workshop with Claudia Castro Luna and Melanie Noel

Saturday, April 13, 3 to 5 p.m., Bellevue Library

Join the Washington state Poet Laureate and the Redmond Poet Laureate for guided writing exercises that focus on place. Then turn your favorite poetic verses into a wooden bookmark that you can take home. Best for ages 10 and older. FREE.

Inaugural National Poetry Month Festival

Sunday, April 14, 6 p.m., Third Place Books – Ravenna

If you have a young poet in middle or high school, they’ll enjoy this opportunity to meet and hear from 10 locally and nationally acclaimed poets. Laura Da', Kathleen Flenniken, Lily Myers, Michael Schmeltzer, Colleen Louise Barry and others will read aloud from their works that represent a diverse array of styles, techniques, forms, and subject matter.

A Celebration of National Poetry Month

Tuesday, April 16, 7 to 9 p.m., Warby Parker, Capitol Hill

Hear readings from the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, the Washington state Poet Laureate, the Seattle Civic Poet and others.

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thursday, April 18

Poem in Your Pocket Day is part of the nation-wide poetry month celebration. Select a poem, carry it in your pocket, and share it with others at school, bookstores, with neighbors, and on social media via hashtag #pocketpoems. Not sure which poem to choose? Download a printable, pocket-sized poem here

Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam

Friday, April 19, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6), Kings Hall, Seattle

Poetry slams are intense, emotional and so much fun. If you’ve never been to one, don’t miss the chance to be transformed tonight as 10 young poets explore everything from love and loss to resistance and survival. Five finalists will be selected to compete at an international slam competition later this summer. The Grand Slam is Youth Speaks Seattle's annual fundraiser. Tickets are $10-$40.

Journal Making with Recycled Materials

Saturday, April 20, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Sammamish Library

The best writers keep journals everywhere – on their desk, in their bag, in the car and by their bed. Today you can learn about different types of journals and make your own from recycled materials. FREE.

The Nature of Poetry

Saturday, April 27, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Renton Highlands Library

Celebrate African-American poets whose works express a love for nature. Guided writing activities will help young poets write about their favorite things in nature. Geared toward children in grades 4 to 12. FREE.

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day

Saturday, April 27, all day at your friendly neighborhood bookstore

While not necessarily a poetry month event, Seattle's independent bookstores are welcoming families for fun activities, author readings and more today. These stores are filled with beautiful books of poetry. Head to the children's section, and discover something new.

ArtVenture: Re-Imagined Objects

Sunday, April 28, 1 to 3 p.m., Henry Art Gallery

Use poetry to think about the everyday objects in your life in new and interesting ways. Bring something from home or pick an object from the museum’s selection; then write a poem, a story or draw a portrait to honor the object. FREE.

Are your kids too young to read or write poetry? Here are four great kids’ books you can read together. 

To close out this list of poetry month fun, I’ll leave you with the sound of beloved poet Mary Oliver reading her poem “Wild Geese.” My favorite. What’s yours?


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