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Poetry Month

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Each April, librarians throughout NYPL post readings, discussions and events celebrating National Poetry Month, a time when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.

The Reader's Den: Epistolary Poetry for April

The Den is warm today With April sun Just in time For Poetry Month! More epistolary poetry: letters in the form of a poem.Read More ›

Sparrows and Heroes, or Why Poetry?

After the winter we've had, I've been really looking forward to April. With the longer daylight hours, signs of green, and chances to enjoy the city's parks and rivers without shivering, I feel something in my brain waking up and it seems natural to break out the poetry.Read More ›

Booktalking "A Light in the Attic" by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein's poems are humorous; no one can deny this.

In "How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes," kids learn how to avoid this onerous chore. Silverstein's advice? Drop one onto the floor. The illustration includes a huge dish that is covering a girl's entire body.

The poem about babysitter, "The Sitter" is quite unexpected.

Mrs. McTwitter the baby-sitter

I think she's a little bit crazy.

She thinks a 

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Booktalking "Cat Poems" by Dave Crawley

I love the cat breed illustrations on the inside of the front and back covers of this book. All of the cats look so happy! The book is full of poems that indicate the nature of cats, and anyone who has experience with cats or who has lived with cats knows exactly what Crawley is talking about in these cat poems.

In the poem "Brand X," a cat was acting for a commercial for cat food. Wouldn't you know it? When asked to choose between the 

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Check it out: YA Novels in Verse!

I can't say that I've always been the biggest poetry fan. But lately I've been getting into novels in verse, which have been popping up all over the YA Fiction scene for awhile now. Ellen Hopkins is the queen of this and if you've never read her work before, do yourself a favor and check out Crank as soon as possible. You will be hooked... freaked out... and hooked.

I made a

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Haiku Redux

Fang and I were very, very lucky during the hurricane. We were out of power for only 24 hours, during which I wrote the three haiku below: "On the Advantages of the Absence of Electricity."

Haiku is one of the more accessible poetic forms (have you ever tried writing a sestina?), at least for the likes of me. There are, of course, books galore of and about them, but a short and sweet

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Looking for Something Lost: Mark Van Doren in the Village

Mark Van Doren edited and published An Anthology of World Poetry in 1929. Amazingly, this enabled him to buy the house at

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Before You Become a Poet, Work in a Bar: John Masefield in the Village

Before he was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, John Masefield scrubbed floors in a saloon at Greenwich Avenue and Sixth Avenue in the Village.

My guess, that's good training to be a poet or a writer of any kind. 

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Reclaiming My West Indian Roots, with Poetry

As a young girl growing up in Jamaica — and later in Brooklyn, NY — I often heard the poetry of Louise Bennett (Jamaicans affectionately call her "Miss Lou") permeate the air. One of my earliest recollections of Miss Lou’s lyricism was hearing the term mout amassi (big mouth). The term comes from the title of one of her most popular poems about a young lady, Liza, who loves to gossip and chat.

To be called a "mout amassi" 

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Nature Poems for Poetry Month

In New York City, there is a lot to celebrate during the month of April, National Poetry Month. It feels like poems fill the air as the weather warms, flowers bloom, animals come out of hiding, and, of course, Earth Day arrives!  No worries if you missed it yesterday, this post will help you and your children celebrate our Earth (and her fantastic creatures!) with a few recommendations from NYPL's vast collection of poetry for young people. 

Outside Your Window: A First Book of 

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Poetry Writing With Adult New Readers, Strategy 1: The List Poem

You have not crossed the bridges I have crossed. You have not listened to the music I have listened to. You have not been in the top of the World Trade Center the way I have been there. You have not seen the waves I have seen. You have not fallen from horses the way I have fallen. You have not felt the guns on your neck the way I have felt them. You have not been in the sea with a big storm in a little boat the way I have been.

—Excerpt from "Don’t Give Me Advice," by Luis Marin, Tompkins Square CRW

This month is

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A Poem A Day

April is National Poetry Month, and I promised myself to read a poem a day. Some poets of the black experience immediately came to mind: Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay, Sonia Sanchez, Audrey Lorde, to name a few. But then I decided to venture unto new territory and immerse myself into recent works.

I selected four great poets — and distinguished scholars training new generations — who published collections in 2010 and 2011. I found history, current events and the future in their works; and grace, beauty, heartache, struggles and 

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A Poet's Poet: Gregory Corso

Gregory Corso was born at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. His family lived near Bleecker and MacDougal streets at the time of his birth.

His birthday is March 

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First Fig: Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Village

The house is for sale again, apparently — One of the most famous in Greenwich Village, 75 1/2 Bedford Street, otherwise known as the skinniest house in New York.

Formerly, it was the home of

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Life is a Stream: Amy Lowell in the Village

Amy Lowell was a poet who lived for a time at 61 Washington Square in New York City. February 9 is her birthday.

Here is a short selection from her work:

Life is a stream On which we strew Petal by petal the flower of our heart.

"Petals," from

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Joining the Club: The Poetry of David Shapiro

Perhaps it's because audiences for poetry are a bit smaller than some of the other genres I'm drawn to, but whenever I finally get around to reading a poet others have recommended to me, it seems like knocking on the door to a little club of sorts. When the poet is as interesting as David Shapiro, one hopes to return to that door again and again.  

Shapiro is one of many distinguished contributors to the new journal Bridge, which promises 

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Mr. Flood's Party

If you are of a certain age, you may be familiar with Edwin Arlington Robinson from a Simon and Garfunkel song, "Richard Cory." The words of the song were changed somewhat from what Robinson wrote but it still ended with the same shocking, brutal conclusion. Here’s the whole poem:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked 

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Made of Stories

Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist, was born on December 15, 1913.

She lived in Westbeth at Bethune and West Streets in the West Village.

Her words will tell you more about her 

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Winter is an Etching: An Artistic Quotation

Every November, the searches for Stanley Horowitz on Google gain momentum. Horowitz, a poet, published a tranquil 18 word poem in the November 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine, page 109. Some years later the poem was posted to a list of autumn quotations on the Internet, sandwiched between poetry giants like John Keats and Robert Frost, and it has been used ubiquitously all over the web ever since. 

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Slam Poetry in NYC

Slam Poetry is alive and well in New York City and beyond. Check out this slam the NYPL and Urban Word hosted at the Bronx Library Center, featuring the Precision Poetry Drill Team.  With so many of the Urban Word visiting poets coming from the Slam tradition, I want to take a moment and discuss the art form and point you towards exciting Slam events, videos, and resources in New York City.

The history of slam poetry is complicated, almost as 

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