By Carlos Marquez III
Senior News Reporter
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the National Poetry Month which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, booksellers and various poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
The celebration aims to encourage the reading of poems, encourage support for poets and poetry, incorporate poetry in schools’ curriculum and highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American Poets.
The celebration includes several events and campaigns that anybody can participate in. The Poetry & the Creative Mind is an event in New York City featuring leading and luminary actors, artists and public figures. National Poem in Your Pocket Day is on April 21 this year where participants are encouraged to select a poem they like, carry it in their pocket throughout the day and share the poem with others at schools, parks and workplaces.
The poetry reading taking place at the Texas State Alkek Library will be the first reading sponsored by the library and will feature two poets who work at Texas State. Alkek Library Learning Commons Assistant Kay Hetherly says the library staff is excited to be participating in National Poetry Month.
“It’s our very first poetry reading event,” Hetherly said. “And we’ve invited some Texas State poets, Tomas Morin and Lisha Garcia to read. We’re excited about their work and National Poetry Month is just a great opportunity to celebrate poetry, remind people how powerful poetry is and we hope a lot of students, faculty and staff will come to the library and help us celebrate both the event and the fact that we have these amazing poets on our campus.”
Texas State English Lecturer and featured poet, Tomas Morin is looking forward to speaking at the event because he feels that it is important to further expose poetry to students.
“Poetry, in particular in the U.S., is pretty healthy,” Morin said. “It has a good readership but I think one of the great things about National Poetry Month is that through all the different readings and celebrations that are going on across the country is that they expose or they bring to readers and people who love poetry, actual living reading poets because a lot of people who do love poetry don’t really read a lot of poets that are alive right now. They read all of the greats from the past and there’s just so much good poetry written by people from so many different backgrounds and cultures being written in the U.S. right now that I National Poetry Month is a great way to spotlight some of those people, that way audiences can find and follow poets that are actually working and living right now and I think that’s important. It’s great to honor the poets of the past but I think it’s also important to honor and know the writers that are writing right now.”
The event will be on April 14 in the Instant Theater on the second floor of the Alkek Library and it will begin at 3 p.m.. There will be a short panel to introduce the poets before they read and there will be a Q&A session after so that the audience can ask about the poet’s’ experiences and their personal connection to the Texas State program, Common Experience.