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Guest Post: An Introduction to Poetry Friday by Tabatha Yeatts

National Poetry Month is a big month for the Poetry Friday crowd. What is Poetry Friday? I turned to Poetry Friday regulars to help me explain.

WHAT IS POETRY FRIDAY?

In an article for the Poetry Foundation, Susan Thomsen explains Poetry Friday this way: “Readers, writers, teachers, parents, librarians, homeschoolers, illustrators, and editors share favorite poems for children and adults, link to cool poetry sites, describe readings they’ve been to, and recommend great books about poetry.”

If you think you might be interested but need a little enticement, let me tell you about the variety of things Poetry Friday has to offer:

FOR WRITERS:

It’s where we meet to learn, to teach, to hold each other up on this challenging, not-always-graceful journey to a poem. –April Halprin Wayland

Thanks to this group, I have written all sorts of poems I never could have imagined before. Lots of inspiration! –Irene Latham

I didn’t write poetry for over twenty years, and PF helped me find my voice again. –Renée LaTulippe

There are “friends” out there that I’ve never met, friends who share my enthusiasm for a good poem or who ask interesting questions about writing, art, life, whatever. I don’t care if their friendship comes to me online – that’s fine. Writing can be isolating – and I’m comfortable with my friends arriving via different modes of delivery. I like the connective tissue that gets formed no matter how we meet. –Julie Larios

FOR TEACHERS:

One of the greatest gifts I have received is a community that honors each other. We are full of kindness and acceptance and there isn’t enough of that in the world. Some of us are teachers facing the daily challenges of Common Core and state testing and closed minds. I feel safe in this place we call Poetry Friday. I also feel celebrated. When I post about my students’ work, you always praise me and compliment their work. I can’t tell you what that does to fuel me. I have finally found a group of people as nuts about poetry as I am. –Margaret Simon

It’s where I met ‘my people’ to exchange original poems, poems from mentors and share student poetry. –Jone Rush MacCulloch

One thing I can add since I feel I’m one of the newest Poetry Friday people is how welcoming the community has been to me. I love poetry, and…I was thrilled to find company who were both passionate and knowledgeable. –Linda Baie

I love PF because it allows me share poems I love, find new poems to express my thoughts and feelings, and discover new poets through our PF community. And, I love that the format allows me to write and incorporate visual elements and music. –Tara Smith

FOR READERS/ PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN BEING PART OF A POETIC COMMUNITY:

If you are human with a pulse and a heart, there is a poem for you. Poetry Friday might help you find that poem or inspire you to write your own. 🙂 –Jama Rattigan

I’d also say that the fun of Poetry Friday for me is really in that sense of community – there are others who want to celebrate poetry, and thanks to the web, we can find each other and connect. The weekly tradition – the ritual, almost – helps me think of poetry even when I don’t blog on a Friday, and that’s nice, too. –Greg Pincus

When I first began reading the posts and participating, I had a good base knowledge of children’s poetry and a true interest. But in the last year, I have learned so much more and my interest has grown tremendously! I’ve also “met” so many wonderful, intelligent, talented writers that I am now thrilled to call friends. It is truly a special community! –Becky Shillington

Don’t be afraid to jump right in! It’s such a welcoming, supportive community. I haven’t encountered a warmer or more passionate group of poetry-lovers anywhere on the web or otherwise. It’s the highlight of my blogging week. –Irene Latham

As I’m getting back into posting and visiting at least SOME of the many wonderful posters each week, it feels like coming home… Thank you, all of you, for *being* Poetry Friday! –Laura Purdie Salas

For someone new, I say, “Welcome!” If you like poetry – even a little – join us. If you are afraid of poetry, join us. If you love poetry, join us. –Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH COMMENTING?

When I started posting on Poetry Friday a few years ago, I learned it takes a little while to attract regular commenters, and it’s worth the effort to get to know this generous community. Leaving a heartfelt sentence or two in response to other blog posts is a great way to get and stay involved. –Robyn Hood Black

I comment from the heart – whatever my response may be. I love reading comments to discover other thoughts, interpretations, reactions – these are so much fun, for they make you look at the poem in a completely different way. –Tara Smith

Comment on what strikes you, and if you do not have a blog, consider beginning one for your own poetry findings and explorations. –Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

WHAT ARE POETRY FRIDAY POSTS LIKE?

There’s a huge range of what you can do. You can share a poem, a song, a poetry book. You can put as much or as little effort into it as you can spare. Here’s a small selection so you can see a bit of the variety. Also, feel free to make the rounds of this week’s round-up!

Joy begins a poem and invites commenters to add to it

Laura at Author Amok wraps up a month of color poems

Colette discusses students memorizing Invictus

Charles (Father Goose) shares an illustrated original poem

A tea party with poems at Jama’s

A vacation and poetry from Dori

Heidi shares a poem from a non-poetry-centered magazine

Matt talks about revising poems

An original poem by Steven with background info

Ruth talks about Poetry Fridayers at the International Reading Convention
Favorite poems for fictional characters at my blog

HOW DID IT START?

Poetry Friday began in 2006 as the brainchild of Kelly Herold. Blogs who win the longevity award for being a part of Poetry Friday from the start include Check It Out, GottaBook, MotherReader, Poetry for Children, A Wrung Sponge, and A Year of Reading.

WHO CAN DO ROUND-UPS?

Anyone who is willing to gather the links in some way, shape or form. Read more about it at A Year of Reading.