Ohio celebrates National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become a large literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.www.poets.org.

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is not-for-profit organization of lovers of poetry who have a relationship with Ohio. OPA celebrates its 90th year with a special National Poetry Month event on April 12-14, 2019. The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is an affiliate of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS). www.ohiopoetryassn.com.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. www.poetryoutloud.org.

All high schools in Ohio are eligible to participate in Poetry Out Loud (POL).Teachers, librarians, or administrators register their high schools each year with the Ohio Arts Council and organize contests with one class, several classes, or a whole school. Contests, workshops, and multi-media program materials, including curricula, are free. Poetry Out Loud is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will be held April 29-May 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Lima Central Catholic High School junior Anna Kahle will represent Ohio at the national competition. www.oac.ohio.gov/poetryoutloud.

Congratulations to Julie Hanson, winner of the 2019 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize—named for the distinguished poet who taught for many years at Ohio University

and made Athens, Ohio, the subject of many of his poems.

The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), in partnership with The Columbus Foundation, held its first-ever Poetry Slam competition in 2019, crowning Playon Patrick in the youth category and Tyiesha Radford Shorts in the adult category.

The Hocking Hills Festival of Poetry 2019 is April 12th and 13 and will be held at the Alley Park Lodge, Lancaster, Ohio. www.powerofpoetry.org.

I would like to share one of my poems with you in honor of National Poetry Month.

Mother Nature’s Remedy

Trading in concrete castles for sun and surf,

Trading in amusement parks for parks with trees and grass, 

Trading in shopping malls for land, sea, and sky.

Strolling through cemeteries with an attitude of gratitude for life,

Hiking through rocky trails and breathing in mountain air,

Boating on a body of water with Father Time.

Listening to the rain without worries of a bad hair day,

Observing falling snowflakes through the eyes of a child,

Marveling at flashing lightning trapped inside a cloud.

Smelling the fragrance of honeysuckle and lilac,

Studying the architectural beauty of flowers,

Watching hummingbirds search for nectar. 

Viewing yellow and black bumblebees with pouches of pollen,

Spying on squirrels hunting for winter walnuts, 

Eavesdropping on autumn leafs blowing down the street.

Unearthing peaceful thoughts and emotions,

Uncovering childhood playfulness,

Rediscovering curiosity and excitement. 

Being in relationship with Mother Nature’s natural world,

Visiting her healing environment; inhaling her panorama gifts of life.

Recreating self with spiritual awareness in a landscape of wonder.  

Returning to civilization with battery recharged and energized,

Vowing to spend more hours with Mother Nature and Father Time,

Promising to decorate my soul and office with earthly treasures. 

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.”—James Gates Percival

Melissa Martin, Ph.D

Melissa Martin, PhD, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.