Beyond the Page Book Club screens "Dead Poets Society" in honor of National Poetry Month

On Wednesday, April 8, Beyond the Page Book Club held their final event for the year. In honor of National Poetry month they decided to show the film “Dead Poets Society,” which was produced in 1989. The film was accompanied by popcorn and beverages. Rising senior and President of the club Rachael Owen said that, “We thought this would be a good chance for students to relax before finals.”

The classic film takes place in 1950s New England at an all-boys preparatory school. It follows the lives of several of the students and their new English teacher (played by Robin Williams) who teaches them the importance of thinking for oneself and of not being afraid of standing up for one’s beliefs even if it goes against the established norms.

While Beyond the Page Book Club ordinarily makes decisions using polls on social media sites, this film was chosen by club officers for its subject matter. The group’s mission is to help the Chatham community share and express their love of books and literature. This movie was chosen because it was a film that dealt directly with how literature—specifically poetry—has the power to change lives.

National Poetry Month was created in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets and takes place every April. It is the most widely celebrated literary event in the world. The inspiration for the day, according to poets.org, came from the success of month dedications, such as Black History Month and Women’s History Month. It is used as an opportunity for organizations, like schools and libraries, to support the reading of poetry. The Academy of American Poets allows anyone to use the official logo to promote participation from educators and poet enthusiasts from around the country.

The month has had a variety of special events in its honor. In the past the US Postal service has featured stamps with poets, and in 2005 the Empire State Building in New York City featured blue and white lights in honor of the month. Additionally, every year since 2012, the Academy for American Poets hosts a project entitled “Dear Poet.” It encourages children in grades five through twelve to read, interact with, and create original works of poetry.

Beyond the Page Book Club is enthusiastic in its mission. In September they will start the year off with a speaker about a novel to bring attention to Banned Books Week.