The American Academy of Poets, which launched National Poetry Month in 1996, is building a resource list to help poets and poetry organizations during the epidemic, says Jeffrey Gleaves, digital engagement and content director. The academy will publish guidelines and best practices for virtual events and readings, and organizations are encouraged to submit virtual events to its Poetry Near You listings page on Poets.org.
On March 20, the academy launched the #ShelterInPoems initiative, which invites readers to select a poem from the Poets.org website and post on social media why they find the poem inspiring. The effort will continue through at least April, Gleaves said, and the organization is sending select testimonials to its newsletter list weekly.
Weekdays through April, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will guest edit the Poem-a-Day on Poets.org. Other resources at the academy’s website include a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month at home and in a digital classroom.
Paul Slovak, executive editor at Viking, is looking after the Penguin poetry list, as he’s done for the past two decades. On World Poetry Day, March 21, Penguin announced a social media initiative encouraging readers to pause and take a moment for poetry. The first poem, excerpted from American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes, was shared on March 24 across Penguin’s socials. The campaign will continue through National Poetry Month.
In April, Penguin Books is releasing a Farsi/English edition of Iranian poet Garous Abdolmalekian’s Lean Against This Late Hour, the first English language publication of his work and the first time the Penguin Poets series has done poetry in translation. “It always seemed a long shot that Garous would be able to come from Iran for the publication,” Slovak said. “We had set up a launch event at Poets House in New York for April 16 that was to include the two translators, Idra Novey and Ahmad Nadalizadeh, and are now exploring whether that event could be done virtually.”
Four Way Books is also looking into virtual events, says publicity director Clarissa Long. The press, which releases 16–18 titles per year, published Gregory Pardlo’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize–winning collection, Digest, and its spring poetry list includes Fantasia for the Man in Blue by Tommye Blount, Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo, and Let It Be Broke by Ed Pavlić . Four Way is speaking with venues that had been scheduled to host its authors and brainstorming ways to promote new books without an in-person reading, such as livestreaming q&as.