The Tortured Poets Department Radio Show

What would you, a tortured poet, call your radio show recorded and aired during National Poetry Month? What else but the Tortured Poets Department radio show!

A couple of weeks back was parent/teacher takeover week at my high school’s station WIQH, and I got to do my own TTPD radio show. It was lots of fun!

my DJ and me (right)

Besides playing Taylor Swift music, mostly from what I consider her best album (Folklore), I read poetry from some of the books we have in the school library, including “Seven White Butterflies” from West Wind by Mary Oliver, “Stardust” from Star Child by Ibi Zoboi, and “We Study Each Other” from Wild Dreamers by Margarita Engle. I also got to share a clip from the audio book of my own verse novel, The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin read by fabulous narrator, Juliette Goglia!

All in all, it was tons of fun and very poetic but not all that tortured.

National Poetry Month Kickoff

Happy National Poetry Month! (Or almost, since it’s just a few days away now.) I’ve always found it so fitting that NPM falls in April, when much of the northern hemisphere is transitioning into spring, our heads filling with poetic thoughts. Everything is new, reborn, fresh! Therefore, my plans to celebrate this month include:

  • much frolicking out of doors
  • enjoying some sunlight at my desk and experimenting with some new-to-me forms of poetry (a series of my blank verse poems have been published here, but there is still much to explore)
  • reading a poetry craft book (on deck: THE CRAFTY POET by Diane Lockward)
  • reading more poetry and verse novels (recent reads include THE PRINCESS SAVES HERSELF IN THIS ONE by Amanda Lovelace, MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur, RONIT & JAMIL by Pam Laskin, and STONE MIRRORS by Jeannine Atkins)
  • peeking at the entries to our YA #FindingHome poetry contest at YARN
  • continue working on my own verse novel projects (yes, they have multiplied and are now plural!)

While I hope many poets out there are writing, reading, and entering our contest at YARN this month, I’m curious how else everyone is celebrating. Any big poetic plans? Please do share!

Celebrate National Poetry Month

April might be well underway, but it’s certainly not to late to celebrate National Poetry Month! Last year, I wrote a short essay to defend my personal favorite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. This year, in keeping with the theme of 5 we’re celebrating over at YARN: the YA Review Network to celebrate our fifth year of publication, I’m sharing 5 ways to celebrate the spirit of the month.
1. Read poems! Read something by your favorite poet, discover a new poet, or read poems to children in your life. Some of the oft-read books in my household include these.


2. Attend a local poetry event. has a handy search feature to track down events in your area.
3. Write your own poem. Even if you’re not Shakespeare or Rilke, you might surprise yourself by what you come up with. My own contribution for the month:
I open the window
and breathe
the clean air of spring
all sunlight and blue sky
and the slightest hint of azahar.
The morning is
café con leche,
pan con tomate,
and the sweet-salty bocado
of chocolate con churros.
Red, yellow, yellow, red
the flag salutes
from the highest point
of the Real Maestranza
flapping above its red walls and yellow sand.
Hands clap and heels tap
as bailaoras swirl and swish and thump
to ferocious rhythms
that bleed through the floor,
My hands are a bowl
and I catch
five orange blossoms and
cradle them, tiny doves,
in my palms.
4. Enter a contest! The #yarn5 poetry contest at YARN calls for any and all riffs on the number 5, and includes some pretty fantastic prizes, so be sure to enter by the 4/20 deadline.
5. Follow the #npm15 hashtag on twitter to learn more about poetry, poets, and how to celebrate the month in style.