After consulting poets, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, The Academy of American Poets designated April as National Poetry Month in 1996. Sponsors and partners include the American Booksellers Association, American Libraries, Art Works, tspoetry.com, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Poetry Foundation, 826 National, Penguin Random House, and Scholastic.
The Academy of American Poets stated, “The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.”
In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, the Academy chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March), and on the advice of teachers and librarians, April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry—in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.
The Academy of American Poets has a list of 30 Ways to Celebrate. The organization also has Tip Sheets for Librarians including ideas for book displays, collection development, and outreach; and Tip Sheets for Booksellers including marketing, merchandising, and events for children.
Through Poets.org, one can order a free 2014 National Poetry Month poster, and purchase posters from previous years while supplies last. One can donate online to support Poets.org, a program of the new York City-based Academy of American Poets.