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Experience the power of a great poem for National Poetry Month

Tracy K. Smith and Joy Harjo
Make April the month you start reading poetry. It’s a simple way to add daily reading to your life, and thousands of free poems are just a single click away! “Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen,” wrote Leonardo da Vinci, reminding us that you don’t need a Ph.D. in literature to enjoy a great poem. You just need to be able to feel something—joy, sadness, love, or even anger. Finding poetry as easy as a trip to Instagram, where Sir Patrick Stewart has been reading a sonnet by Shakespeare every day. The beloved star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men, and countless Shakespearean plays, Sir Patrick’s amazing voice brings centuries-old poems to life.

Start (but don’t stop) with National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, the world's largest celebration of art that you feel as well as read. Millions of readers will revisit poetry this month, but make sure you keep reading poetry the rest of the year as well!It’s as simple as reading or listening to a single poem. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets, and you’ll get a daily poem read to you each morning in your inbox. Once you find your first poem, it gets easier and easier to enjoy more poetry. Author Tess Taylor explained at CNN:

“Your pleasure will guide you. You can read poems to find out what they mean, you can read them to take pleasure in how they mean. But perhaps as importantly, you can enjoy what a poem lets you excavate inside yourself.”

To help Fable readers discover more poetry, we’ve created a video collection rounding up great poets and poems across the centuries. All these books are available in the Fable Bookstore, and some of them are completely free. You can also view our curated list of classic poetry as well as other Fable Folios!

Amanda Gorman

"We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another We seek harm to none and harmony for all"In this breathtaking video, you can watch a bit of poetic history. On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her poem, “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country.” Once you've watched the historic poem, read Amanda Gorman on Fable!

William Wordsworth

"I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o'er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils"In this moving reading by Victor Vertunni, we hear one of the most famous poems ever written by William Wordsworth, a Romantic poet who brought generations of readers back to nature. As the video explains, the poet had been “inspired after finding a surprising number of daffodils during a countryside walk.” Now that you’ve enjoyed the poem, read William Wordsworth’s poetry for free on Fable!

Tracy K. Smith

"In those last scenes, as he floatsAbove Jupiter’s vast canyons and seas,Over the lava strewn plains and mountainsPacked in ice, that whole time, he doesn’t blink."Tracy K. Smith is the author of three collections of poetry. She won the 2004 Rona Jaffe Writers Award and a 2005 Whiting Writer's Prize. In this poem, she describes her father’s work on the Hubble Space Telescope, giving us a cinematic tour of the cosmos. After you listen to the poem, read Tracy K. Smith’s poetry on Fable!

Emily Dickinson

"'Hope' is the thing with feathers -That perches in the soul -And sings the tune without the words -And never stops - at all -"Emily Dickinson was a great American poet who confronted the constrictive norms of 18th Century society, gender, and family. As the video notes, “Dickinson portrays hope as a bird that lives within the human soul; this bird sings come rain or shine, gale or storm, good times or bad.” Once you watch the video, read Emily Dickinson's poetry on Fable.  

Natasha Trethewey

"At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,a few men gathered, white as angels in their gowns.We darkened our rooms and lit hurricane lamps,the wicks trembling in their fonts of oil."The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey is a former US poet laureate and the author of five collections of poetry, as well as a book of creative nonfiction. In this video, she reads a painful poem about a cross-burning. She captures the way a violent and traumatic expression of racism gets passed down through generations. Once you’ve heard her poem, read Natasha Trethewey’s poetry on Fable.

Robert Frost

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference."Robert Frost became one of the most beloved poets of the 20th Century. His poems are each a meditative brushstroke of Americana, presented in Frost’s trademark plain-spoken but carefully-considered verse. This poem has become instantly recognizable since Frost won the Pulitzer Prize in the 1920s. After the video, read Robert Frost’s poetry for free on Fable.

Ocean Vuong

"When the prison guards burned his manuscripts, Nguyễn Chí Thiện couldn’t stop laughing—the 283 poems already inside him."Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong was born in Vietnam, and explored his journey as an American immigrant in his bestselling collection, “Night Sky with Exit Wounds.” In this video, he weaves writing notebook fragments into a striking poem from his Whiting Award-winning collection. After the video, read Ocean Vuong’s poetry on Fable.

Joy Harjo

"To pray you open your whole selfTo sky, to earth, to sun, to moonTo one whole voice that is you."Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections, and served as the US poet laureate. In this video, you can “Sing, dance and fly along to the musical version of Joy Harjo's deservedly famous ‘Eagle Poem.’” When you finish the poem, you can read Joy Harjo’s poetry at Fable.

Juan Felipe Herrera

"1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance.2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds."Poet Juan Felipe Herrera wrote a complete novel in verse, introducing a new form for Chicano literature. Drawn from his own life as well as a lifetime of dedication to young people, “CrashBoomLove” helps readers understand what it is to be a teen, a migrant worker, and a boy wanting to be a boy. In that video, you could see Juan Felipe Herrera reading “Five Directions to My House.” Once you listen to the poem, you can read Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetry on Fable. Still craving more poetry for your soul? Go to our events page to watch Poetry Happy Hour with Fable, and view other panel discussions while you're there too!

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