Hello, readers! Not only is this week National Library Week (and coincidentally, RPL’s reopening week), but it’s also currently National Poetry Month! I’ll admit that I haven’t always found poetry accessible in the past–traditionally, I’ve appreciated the straight-shooting, no-nonsense directness of prose (which is often also lyrically expressive). As Thomas Hardy said, poetry is the art of putting emotion into measure (okay, that’s not verbatim, but close enough)–it’s all the feels distilled into a few lines. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve come to appreciate the concise wisdom of a fine piece of poetry, the incredible skill required to create vibrant imagery within the confines of limited space, and its ability to convey the emotional heft of a collective national moment.
Here are a few ways you can participate in 25th annual National Poetry Month celebrations:
- Go sign up for the Poem-a-Day program and receive a poem in your inbox each day, curated by author Jane Hirshfield. You can also listen to a playlist of poets reading their work!
- Attend a virtual poetry event:
- RPL is honored to have Richmond’s poet laureate, Roscoe Burnems, host a virtual poetry slam with The Writer’s Den on April 28th!
- Check out a list of events nationwide…
- Or listen to VCU’s celebrated poet, Kathleen Graber, give a virtual talk for the Humanities Research Center on April 26th (register for free here).
- Alternatively, swing by Hull Street Library or West End Library on April 29th to pick up your own special poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day!
- Dip into one of our many amazing poetry collections, including:
- Former ReadUp speaker and UVA professor Kiki Petrosino’s most recent collection, White Blood: A Lyric of Viginia
- Kathleen Graber’s Eternal City, Poems
- Jewel Atiya Peterson’s (one of RPL’s very own librarians!) We will gaze at the sun to find her
- Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead
- Li-Young Lee’s Book of My Nights: Poems
- Or get better acquainted with the classics with The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson or Blake’s Selected Poems (William Blake was a trippy artist, as well).
- Read some prose about poetry! Peruse this booklist for recommendations.
- Read my all-time favorite poem here (or perhaps even better, listen to Auden himself recite it here).
Happy National Poetry Month, all!