April is National Poetry Month…

Do you like poetry? Come up to the Library’s third floor to sample a new poem. We have a bucket filled with copies of poetry for you to enjoy.

Can’t visit the library in person? May I suggest visiting the Library of Congress online? The venerable LC has so many hidden treasures. This month I suggest looking at Poetry 180.

This project by former Poet Laureate Billy Collins offers a selection of poems for each day in the school year. Its target audience is high school students but it is open to everyone. It is a great way to discover new poets and their works:  “The Bagel” made me smile; every parent can identify with “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”

Poems are wonderful to read but they are even better when you hear them. So check out the LC’s Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. This amazing source has audio recordings of many famous poets as well as lectures about poetry. There is an interview with Robert Frost (1959) which includes him reading some of his work. And Archibald MacLeish reads and comments on his poetry in 1963. You also can hear Margaret Atwood, Alan Dugan (I just discovered his “On the Long Island Railroad System”), Joyce Carol Oates, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Pinsky and Gwendolyn Brooks.

The Poetry Foundation  is another great resource. You can listen to the works by such people as Dylan Thomas, Paul Laurence Dunbar, John Dunne,Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robert Frost   You can search the Foundation’s collection of poems. They have a section of poems under 25 lines  and another section of poems by literary forms and terms.

Glance at any of these sites and you just might be inspired to write a line or two of poetry yourself. Or you might discover a discover something special! I liked this one by the 17thcentury poet Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish, “An Apology for Her Poetry.” It ends with the lines:

“Consider, pray, gold hath no life therein.”

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

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