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 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) 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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42 thoughts on “February is Black Poetry Writing Month!

  1. Black History Month is great and all, but I still think that it is a shame that “Black” History, which is really just “History”, is only celebrated for one (the smallest) month of the year. People of all colors get ripped off by only hearing and learning about the same people during the same month every year. It is time for history books and schools to get with the program and quit designating “Black” History education for February and acknowledge it year round. I enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month picked February because so many historic events that relate blacks happened in this month. Originally it was just a week, but they later expanded it to the whole month. But he is quoted for saying this: “We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” I agree. We need a history that reflects everyone, not just a select group of people. I think Black History Month was originally created to try to insert that, but by no means should it be confined only to February! Though I am not against celebrating one’s heritage, we really do have to stop separating our histories like these events didn’t affect EVERYONE. The optimist in me hopes one day we will be a little more unified in our remembering. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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