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ArthurMapes.com has been anticipating National Poetry Month for a few weeks already, but somehow April managed to creep up on me. The Academy of American Poets has been celebrating this special month since 1996. According to its website, poets.org: The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

We are happy to be observing it here and, I hope, gaining a broader audience for some special poetry of historic and artistic value.

I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than by taking a moment to read one of my favorite poems, A Poet’s Prayer. Excerpt:

Lord! give me words of praise today
For friends I’ve gained along life’s way;
Who stood by me when hope seemed gone,
Placed faith in me, and beckoned on.
May I bring joy to everyone,
And through each poem … Thy will be done.

  • Poets.org suggests 30 ways to celebrate
  • Smartphone users, PoetryFoundation.org offers one of my favorite apps — search poems by poet, lines, title, even by mood — and if you don’t have a smartphone, the desktop website is just as great
  • More fantastic resources at the Library of Congress

Mackinac Island, Michigan. Photo by Angela Mapes Turner