Opinion | April showers bring May flowers and poetry

It is National Poetry Month, and the Iowa City community has a lot to offer to help celebrate.


David Harmantas

Prairie Lights bookstore on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

This month is National Poetry Month, and whether you are interested in poetry or not, Iowa City will be filled with engaging opportunities to celebrate. National Poetry Month started in 1996 to recognize the contributions poets and poetry make to our culture.

Iowa City is a UNESCO City of Literature, the second one in the world, which is a designation few cities across the world receive. Iowa City was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization as a rich literary and cultural center. w

Much of the reason Iowa City is honored with being a UNESCO City of Literature is because of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where the first creative writing degree was established. However, there are numerous other criteria that must be met.

Iowa City was also approved as a UNESCO City of Literature is because of the robust and diverse range of literary opportunities in the community. There is everything from publishing opportunities to numerous non-profits that have dedicated their efforts to uplift art in the community.

I work with the nonprofit Iowa City Poetry, which will be hosting several events throughout the month. For example, there will be a poetry party hosted at the Iowa City Poetry Lending Library. This event involves a poetry swap, food, and opportunities to meet local artists. Later in the month, there will be workshops as well as outdoor literary readings through the event Poetry Al Fresco.

Prairie Lights will be hosting the Iowa City Reading Aloud Group for the presentation of “The World We Found” and “The World We Made.” This event will highlight nature and the environment through poetry.

As an English and creative writing major, I have been able to consistently share and hear stories from a multitude of people on campus, allowing me to be a part of a creative community. Supporting national poetry month in Iowa City is a way for everyone to be involved in supporting Iowa City arts.

Apart from being fun and enriching on a personal level, events and opportunities like these contribute to creating more unified and healthy communities. Being able to share stories and create meaning as a community has been shown to provide public health benefits. For example, the distribution of vaccines was often successful when paired with art-related events.

Additionally, through sharing poetry and art in general, we can better educate and mobilize as a community for change. In many social justice movements, art has played an integral role in involving the community. We’ve seen this happen in Iowa City with the ‘Oracles of Iowa City’ project murals, one of which says “Black Joy Needs No Permission.”

It is a privilege to be able to have so many free and accessible opportunities to engage with art and create a more unified community in Iowa City.

Some of my favorite memories from being on campus with my friends are from going to campus and community events. From experiencing events like Walk it Out, a multicultural fashion show, to attending literary readings across the city, I have never regretted engaging in the arts.

We are privy to some of the greatest writing opportunities in the world. If you are ever looking for something to do this month, consider looking into how you can engage with National Poetry Month events.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.