April is National Poetry Month, a great time for poets and poetry and poem–ing.
Government is a strange thing, in that it offers vital services and infrastructure, makes laws and attempts to manage big picture issues like tornadoes and epidemics. But governments also have the odd arts program, to promote those practices that keep us not just alive and able to reach each other over paved roads and safe bridges but keep us people who create and connect.
One of those is the U.S. poet laureate program. The poet laureate advises the Library of Congress on its poetry collections and encourages engagement with the art form.
Our current poet laureate Ada Limon is the first woman U.S. poet laureate of Mexican ancestry. She is also the author of six books of poetry and hosts a poetry podcast, The Slowdown, with episodes under 10 minutes long.
Cities and states often mimic this structure, naming their own poet laureates who take on projects that promote poetry and literacy in their communities.
The state of New Mexico’s laureate is Lauren Camp, who will serve a three-year term that began in 2022. She is the second state poet laureate ever, after Levi Romero. Albuquerque’s current poet laureate is the formidable Anna C. Martinez, whose first poetry collection is a poetic memoir. She is the sixth poet to take on the post. If you know any Santa Fe poets, their poet laureate Darryl Wellington is almost at the end of his term. The City of Santa Fe is accepting applications until April 19 for the position.
Socorro does not have a poet laureate, although we do have local poets, not to mention an almost astonishing number of singer-songwriters in such a small town.
Of course, poetry has more to do with the wind in the trees and the current of the river than with official government positions. Poetry month is just a nice reminder to share and enjoy poems. Let’s be humans; let’s make art.
If you’d like to see your poem in the pages (this page specifically) of your local newspaper, email it to me with the subject line Poetry Month at [email protected], and it could make the paper. Include the community you’re writing from (Socorro, Magdalena, Lemitar, etc.), just like you would in a letter to the editor. The same rules apply to poems as to letter to the editor submissions: nothing hateful or libelous will be printed.
I’ll try to run at least one poem a week through April.