It's National Poetry Month

Bookish Stuff / Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

I had no idea but found out that April is National Poetry Month, after reading The Daily Post today.  Apparently it has gone on since 1996 and was started by the Academy of American Poets. Here are the goals for National Poetry Month, that I found on a site called

  • “Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets”
  • “Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry”
  • “Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways”
  • “Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum”
  • “Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media”
  • “Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books” (

Here are some ways you can celebrate National Poetry month.  You could memorize a poem, host a poetry reading, start a poetry reading group, put some poetry in an unexpected place, read poetry to family and friends, put a poem in a letter, etc.  We should all be honoring poetry and American poets.  So here’s how I’m celebrating by publishing one of my favorite poems from Maya Angelou.  Enjoy!

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

11 Replies to “It's National Poetry Month”

  1. For National Poetry month I’ve shared a poem each day on my facebook page. On her birthday, April 4th I posted Phenomenal Woman. She is by far my favorite female poet.

  2. I have her book ‘Just Give Me A Cool Drink Of Water ‘Fore I Die’ and loved this one:

    On Reaching Forty

    Other aquainted years
    with modest
    across the scrim of toughened
    tears and to a stage
    planked with laughter boards
    and waxed with rueful loss
    But forty
    with the authorized
    brazenness of a uniformed
    cop stomps
    into the script
    bumps a funky grind on the
    shabby curtain of youth
    and delays the action.

    Unless you have the inborn
    and grace
    and are clever enough
    to die at

  3. My favorite Maya poem, if i was a poem, i’d be this very one. In the introduction to my blog, the description part, i say it i am a phenomenal woman

      1. well, it’s “I know why the caged bird sings” because it continues to affect me. but i also like “Alone” & find “Men” both humorous & a bit sad.

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