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National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month 2024

“What rises like a tide, catches like a sail, moves like the wind, and crashes like a wave — but isn’t a boat on the sea? Just as a poet aims to transform concrete language into figurative meaning, the challenge of an illustrator is to not translate words into images too literally. The very act of both is, in my imagination, beheld in these lines excerpted from Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats”: a movement from one medium to another, as from air to water…. On the occasion of National Poetry Month, which in part celebrates the active role poetry plays in young people’s education, reading Clifton’s poem provoked within me the question whether, in the act of “sailing through this to that,” one retains the innocence supposed in her words. In depicting a child raptly cannonball-diving into the unknown, I send forth my own wish for every young person to leap into the “serious business” of poetry with all the spoils of youth intact.”

—Jack Wong, Illustrator of the 2024 National Poetry Month poster

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