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14 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in Los Angeles

March 29, 2011 |  1:10 pm


Although it means that it always launches on April Fool's Day, April is National Poetry Month. That means it begins Friday. Want to join in the celebration? Here are 14 ways Angelenos can celebrate (and others can too).

1. Download the Poetry Foundation iPhone app. The free app includes hundreds of poems by classic and contemporary poets, enough to keep your poetry stash filled all month long.

2. But wait, there's more! Poets.org also has an iPhone app, Poem Flow. Download it and get a poem a day. A week is free, three months are 99 cents and a year is $2.99 (less than a penny a poem).

3. Don't have an iPhone? Don't worry, Poets.org also has a Poem a Day by email. It's free.

4. Download Michael Silverblatt's Bookworm conversation with U.S. poet laureate W.S. Merwin. It was broadcast on KCRW in March, but you can listen in April instead.

5. Go to the opening event of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival on Saturday at the Pasadena Public Library's Santa Catalina branch. Readings are at 2 p.m.

6, Join Terry Wolverton for a two-hour poetry workshop at Skylight Books at 2 p.m., discussing the work of contemporary poets and writing your own, as time permits. Free, but RSVP before April 6 to wtrsatwork [at] aol.com.

7. Go see Sonya Sones read and sign "The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus," a novel in verse, at Diesel Books in Brentwood April 10 at 3 p.m.

8. In Pacific Palisades, see Diane K. Martin and Carol V. Davis read their poetry at Village Books. It's part of the monthly Moonday Poetry series and begins at 7:30 p.m.

9. Put a poem in your pocket on April 14. Download a pocket-sized poem from Poets.org and print it out. Carry with you. Read. Repeat.

10. On April 17, see Rhamsodomancy, the monthly reading series at the Good Luck Bar, featuring poets Jessica Goodheart and Collier Nogues (and also novelist Sarah Manguso). $3 suggested donation; begins at 7:30 p.m.

11. Go see the Poetry Society of America reading April 18, with Katherine Coles, Patricia Smith and David St. John at the Geffen Playhouse, co-presented by Red Hen Press. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $20.

12. Celebrate National Poetry Month and Earth Day on April 22 with poets Julie Paegle and Nicole Walker, who embrace nature in their writing. At Beyond Baroque (which has a month full of poetic programs) at 7 p.m.

13. On April 28, go see poets reading the letters of Elizabeth Bishop at the Hammer Museum. Stephen Yenser, Carol Muske-Dukes and David St. John will read the letters of the onetime poet laureate, whose centenary is being celebrated this year.

14. April 30 is the first day of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Don't miss the poetry stage; full details to come.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: U.S. poet laureate W.S. Merwin in 2010. Credit: Tom Sewell