April 2013 was both National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in America and Global Astronomy Month (GAM) worldwide.  For poets with an astronomy interest, as well as astronomers trying their wings at poetry, this combination was a creative moment and a new genre, AstroPoetry, blossomed as never before.  

Amee ChileParticipants in NaPoWriMo endeavor to write a poem a day during the month of April—a formidable challenge for any poet.  Amee Hennig, who holds a B.S. degree in both physics and English (creative writing), decided to use the stimulus of NaPoWriMo to put her poetry to work on behalf of GAM2013 “because I felt it was a small way that I could lend my talents to raising awareness about astronomy and light pollution.”

“I have always felt that poetry is a great resource for learning things that you didn’t even know you were learning,” she adds.  “I try to use astronomy in my poetry to share a bit of knowledge while also reaching out to the ‘human’ side.”

Amee is a writer and program manager at the International Dark-Sky Association, working with parks, reserves, communities, and people around the world to promote dark-sky awareness and add to the International Dark Sky Places.  So it’s no wonder that her poems often reflect her deep desire to help win back our starry skies.  An example is her poem “The Generation Without a Sky,” in which she writes from the perspective of a person no longer interested in the sky.

A poet since childhood, Amee continues to write prolifically through her blog - http://astropoetamee.wordpress.com/ - and this year has shared her work with the AWB AstroPoetry Blog, the GAM AstroPoetry Contest, and her many friends worldwide via Twitter @AstropoetAmee.

Christine Rueter decided to take up the NaPoWriMo challenge of a poem a day after watching her friend, astronomer and poet Andy Rivkin do it successfully in 2012.  “I was just in awe of the great poems he was posting every day,” she recalls.  “This year, I decided to give it a go, too, and I was grateful to have the support of Andy, Amee, and several other NaPoWriMo writers.  Since NaPoWriMo and GAM coincided in April, I really saw my astropoetry as honoring both.”

Christine, who has a Master’s degree in creative writing and literature (with emphasis on poetry) wrote her first haiku when she was 8 years old.  “What gets me writing (and seems to keep me writing) is a desire to wander the universe,” she explains.  “When I sit down to write a poem, I’m really starting a new wandering, and I want to wander a little further into the unfamiliar.”

Christine’s poem “Haiku for Space Shuttle Discovery” made the winner’s circle in the GAM2012 AstroPoetry Contest, taking third place in the Adult category.  In just seventeen syllables, it makes a powerful statement for peace: “Through your small windows / we saw out fractious planet / blue and white and whole.”  More of her poetry at her blog - http://tychogirl.wordpress.com - and follow her on Twitter @TychoGirl for the latest.

Along with Andy Rivkin, other fine astropoets who contributed to NaPoWriMo and the GAM2013 AstroPoetry Contest include:

Sue Couch - http://sylvanelle.wordpress.com/    http://sylvanellenapowrimo.wordpress.com/
Noam Izenberg - http://iyzie.wordpress.com/
Alex Parker - http://planetsabove.blogspot.com/2013/04/napowrimo.html

andrei southernsunset

Finally, our tribute to astropoets who gave a special gift to the world in Global Astronomy Month 2013 would not be complete without mentioning our Romanian friend Andrei Dorian Gheorghe.  Through all the years since freedom came to Romania, Andei, his friend Valentin Gregore, and their astropoet friends in the Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM) have been nurturing and developing the art of astropoetry.  In the past year, our AstroPoetry Blog has been blessed with frequent “haiga” entries (photo-haiku combinations) from Andei and Valentin, usually with Andrei writing the haiku to accompany a photo by Valentin.

Andrei prepared a very special 5-part presentation for our AstroPoetry Blog in honor of GAM2013.  This splendid work, composed of haiga using Andrei’s own photos and haiku from a 2012 trip to Australia and the Far East, celebrates the Sun from the perspective of many lands and many latitudes.  Called “Latitudinal Sun,” its wonder-filled images and poems graced our blog throughout GAM, ending with these lines from the Epilogue on 30 April: “Anywhere we would / go around the world we need / solar reference points.”

Our heartfelt thanks to Andrei and all the astropoets who did so much to make April 2013 a poetic “reference point” and open up for us a little more of the Universe’s wonder.