Poetry is Having an Amazing Moment, So Read, Write and Enjoy Poetry
By Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot and Alpha Public Schools Mascot, helped by Martha Sessums, even though Riley is getting better at keyboarding
If I have been at the 2021 Presidential Inaugural and listened to Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, I would have been shouting out happy arfs arfs and running around in excited circles. What a great poem, but she has also had great success with her poetry book.
According to Martha, who reads this stuff, the first week The Hill We Climb poem book was available it sold nearly 215,000 copies of the 1.5 million copies printed by her publisher. That means that Amanda – a poet – is a best-selling author. It’s the first book of poetry to debut at No. 1 on several best seller lists, and the biggest week-one sales of any poetry book published. And she’s just 23 now – 22 when she recited the poem at the inauguration. Plus, her book has helped drive up sales for all books. In fact, book sales have skyrocketed over the same period in 2020, that not so lovely year.
So, Amanda has made history. As a poet. As a poet who has made a career writing poetry. As an inspiration for people to buy poetry and other books.
We’re doing a bark-out, as Max calls it, for Amanda. Arf, arf, arf. Bark, bark, bark. Meow, meow, meow. (Wow, Amanda even impressed Bodie, and that’s saying something ‘cause Bodie is a cat.)
She should also be an inspiration to the students writing poetry at the ACE Learning Center schools too. That poetry we write? It can take off like Amanda’s poem too. (Well, that’s a high bar. Something I’m not sure even I could jump over.) But poetry is getting more and more popular, and with the right situation could become popular. Here’s what Amanda said:
“I know that this best-seller spot comes from so many people deciding to bring my words into their lives,” Amanda told USA Today. “It makes me speechless to see poetry have such a ripple effect, and I’m excited to see more poets stand beside me on the best-seller list.”
Martha says it’s not just about selling books, but social media can be a good start with making a poem and poet popular. Try reciting your poem on Tic-Tok. Post it to your favorite social media site. Start a poetry squad that writes and shares their poetry. Write a poem for graduation and see if you can recite it for the ceremony – in-person or virtual.
As Len Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, said, “(Amanda) is introducing the beauty and power of poetry to so many new readers. . . We are so proud and honored to be able to help share her words with readers, fans and future poets.”
The ACE Poetry Contest is just one way to enjoy poetry. Find poetry online. In books. At the library. Watch videos. Create poetry yourself. As Amanda says in her poem:
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
Arf, arf. Be brave poets. Step out of the shade and into the poetry light. Write poems that come from your heart and your experiences. Treat yourself – and others – to a poem.
(I know you’re waiting for one of my poems, but I didn’t want to make Amanda’s poem look bad next to my doggerel poetry. Next post will have a poem by me, Riley.)