Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

How does your library celebrate National Poetry Month?

Discover the fun and unique ways libraries highlight poetry appreciation.

April is National Poetry Month. Contrary to doomsayers who talk about poetry declining, poets and their work are in a bit of a golden age and are being read more than ever. As always, libraries support all forms of literature, and many have special programming in April to celebrate poetry. Here are just a few examples from across the country.

New York Public Library has several free events, including poetry writing workshops for all levels, events to grow a “poetry tree” (with poetry written on pieces of paper making up the leaves), poetry story times, and poetry in the park. The library also offers poetry postcards.

Wisconsin’s Madison Public Library invited Madison Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez to be the Poet-in-Residence from March through May. Vasquez will host a number of events for all ages. She worked with the library to create Poetry Response Kits, which are filled with materials for people to make pieces of art in response to Vasquez’s poem “Tree Friends.”

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Western Washington University’s library celebrates not just any poetry, but poetry written and read by students and faculty. A live event will feature poetry readings as well as displays of poetry books for sale from the university’s bookstore.

In California, San Mateo County Libraries has a robust slate of events, both virtual and in-person. Kids can explore magnetic poetry, while adults can learn about the process of writing poems from a panel of poets. Visitors to library branches will have the opportunity to decorate a “poem in your pocket” or create a post-it poem for display in the library.

Iowa City Public Library offers a digital poetry workshop; teen workshops on poetry, music, and storytelling; and a children’s Book to Art workshop.

Montgomery County Public Libraries in Maryland has several live events, including a magnetic poetry session, a teen poetry slam, poetry readings, and a discussion with Pulitzer Prize poet Tyehimba Jess.

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Amarillo Public Library in Texas offers a community poetry board with preselected words that visitors can rearrange into their own poems, a reading by award-winning poet Mark Neely, and a teen event on creating blackout poetry.

Chicago Public Library has several events, including blackout poetry events, an exploration of poetic odes, poetry writing workshops, poetry collage-making, poetry bingo, and film screenings, including Dead Poets Society.

Los Angeles County Public Library hosts several blackout poetry sessions, workshops to design poetry-themed tote bags, sessions to create accordion poetry books, and a teen event to read and discuss Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

Even the Georgia State University Law Library is getting in on the fun, sponsoring a poetry contest for students, staff, and faculty, and a poetry slam where people can read poetry written by themselves or others.

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