February is Black Poetry Writing Month!

Can you believe no one’s thought of this before now? Well, maybe someone has, but I registered the hashtag first, so that officially makes it my idea, right? Should I be copyrighting this?

Excuse me, I’m still a little thunderstruck that lil’ ol’ me just may be the creator of a project that could grow to become as big as NaNoWriMo or NaPoWriMo!

Seriously, no one’s thought of this yet?

Ok, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let me backtrack.

February is probably one of my favorite months on the calendar, and it’s not because it’s the most underappreciated month of the year due to its 28 days (29 in a leap year), or because it’s the month of love (quite frankly, I LOATHE Valentine’s Day), nor is it because it’s the month before my birthday (whoop, whoop)!

I love February because it’s Black History Month, and contrary to what people like Stacy Dash may say, Black History Month is a time for African Americans (and truly ALL Americans) to come together and remember how far we’ve come and how much further we still must go (especially if we want to keep Donald Trump and his fear-mongering hate-speech out of the White House).

During Black History Month, we learn about the brilliant black artists, scientists, activists, philosophers, inventors, abolitionists, teachers, etc. who lead the fight to break the chains of chattel slavery, and paved the way for all African Americans to be something greater— lawyers, doctors, CEOs, the President of the United States! It teaches young black children in the hood and in the suburbs that no matter their circumstances, oppression, discrimination, and prejudice will not hold them back from accomplishing their dreams.

Still, we rise! 

blapowrimo

It would only make sense that a project like Black Poetry Writing Month would accompany Black History Month, as throughout history, poetry has played a major role in bringing the Black Experience to the forefront and in contributing to the advancement of the African American. Think of great poets like Phillis Wheatley, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, and so many others.

As an African American writer, I strive to be like the literary pioneers of the generations before me.

Which is why I’m so ecstatic (and also flabbergasted. Seriously, no one has come up with this yet?) to kick off a tradition that I hope will continue for years to come and one day be as popular as NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo.

Black Poetry Writing Month (BlaPoWriMo) is a challenge for writers to pen a poem a day during the month of February that focuses on race/Black Experience in America and/or the African diaspora (past or present). You don’t have to be Black to join the movement. Just dip the quill into ink and join the hashtag #BlaPoWriMo!

I’m excited to see the poems you create. I will also be sharing some of my own as well as posting an optional prompt for each day of the month.

Use the hashtag #BlaPoWriMo, and you’ll get a retweet from me! You can also follow me on twitter (@Nortina_Mariela), or follow the twitter page I created for this inspiring project (@BlaPoWriMo) to get the latest updates and to read the contributions of fellow poets and writers.

Thank you to everyone who decides to participate. Let’s aim to get #BlaPoWriMo trending all month long!

—Nortina

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