Whether you're a fan of e.e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson, Monday is your chance to celebrate. It's World Poetry Day, a United Nations-approved observance that honors "the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind," according to its website. The holiday aims to encourage the return of poetry recitals and publishing so they stay relevant in today's society.
Love poetry, but you're not sure what to do Monday? Try one of the eight activities below:
Write a haiku or acrostic. These are two forms of poetry that anyone can try. To write a haiku, or a brief Japanese poem, pick a nature-related subject and write three lines. The first should be five syllables, the second should be seven and the third should be five. To pen an acrostic, pick a word — perhaps your name? — and write it down vertically. Then choose adjectives related to the topic that start with each letter within it. Voilà!
Read a Dr. Seuss book. Dr. Seuss was famous for his easy-to-understand rhymes and children's books. On Monday, unearth your old copy of "The Cat in the Hat" or "Green Eggs and Ham" and enjoy. If you can't find the physical book, printed versions of Seuss quotes like these will do. Read out loud — and don't forget the funny voices.
Jump rope to a rhyme. Some of the most basic and famous poems are learned in the schoolyard. Buy a cheap jump rope from Target, find some friends and start hopping. Consult this massive list of jump rope rhymes for short songs like "Cinderella / dressed in yellow / went upstairs to kiss a fellow / Made a mistake / and kissed a snake / How many doctors / did it take?"
Make newspaper blackout poetry. This activity is half craft, half poetry. Take a print newspaper and a black marker and draw small rectangles around words that jump out at you. Then draw rectangles around conjunctions to connect them. Once you have your poem written, black out everything that's not in a rectangle. Then admire.
Host a food-poem potluck. You've got to eat, and there are a ton of poems about food. Why not combine them? Food52 has collected verses about ingredients that can easily be featured in a potluck dinner, like Jack Prelutsky's "Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens." Assign each guest a poem and let them get creative.
Visit a poet's grave. Pay respects to the greats by taking a trip to where they're buried. The Academy of American Poets maintains a list by state of where famous writers are buried. Check out who's close to you — or simply look at images from Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner in London.
Watch slam poetry on YouTube. Slam poetry is a constantly evolving genre that includes fast-paced poems performed onstage. Popular in the 1990s, slams are like an open mic for poets. On Monday, search "slam poetry" on YouTube to watch some of the most famous clips. We recommend "OCD" by Neil Hilborn.
Share a poem on social media. Spread the literature far and wide by posting a short poem on Twitter or Facebook. Try one of these:
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.
— Hans Christian Andersen
I shall love the whole world,
But I shall control
— Sri Chinmoy