National Poetry Month


National Poetry Month began in April 1996, as a way to recognize the poetry all around us. Here are a few of the poetic programs Alachua County Library District will be hosting this month:

Whether you're attending all of these events, or enjoying poetry at home, you do, of course, need some great books of poetry to read. Read on for our booklist of great poetry for all ages!

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was a multi-talented, multi-faceted poet and artist. He is perhaps best-remembered for his poetry books for children, all of which can be found at this link.

However, Silverstein also created many works for adults--through the 50s and 60s, Silverstein was best known as a country music composer and a cartoonist for Playboy!

Always Italicise: How to Write While Colonised

Alice Te Punga Somerville

A first book of poetry from acclaimed Maori writer and scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville. Shrink-wrapped, vacuum-packed, disassembled, sold for parts, butt of jokes, scapegoats, too this for that, too that for this, gravy trains, too angry, special treatment, let it go ... "Always italicise foreign words," a friend of the author was advised. In her first book of poetry, Maori scholar and poet Alice Te Punga Somerville does just that. In wit and anger, sadness and aroha, she reflects on "how to write while colonised."

Selected Poems

e e cummings

After surviving internment in a Prisoner of War camp in World War I, e e cummings rose to prominence as a poet with a revolutionary disregard for the rules of written English. His poems continue to inspire many to this day.

Sing a Black Girl's Song: The Unpublished Work of Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange

In the late 60s, Ntozake Shange was a young student at Barnard College discovering her budding talent as a writer, publishing in her school's literary journal, and finding her unique voice. By the time she left us in 2018, Shange had scorched blazing trails across countless pages and stages, redefining genre and form as we know it. Sing a Black Girl's Song is a new posthumous collection of unpublished works from throughout the life of this seminal Black feminist writer.

The Essential Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

A controversial icon, Allen Ginsberg was part of a literary movement called The Beats, made popular for their shocking, counter-culture approach to art. Ginsberg's work, and the legal trouble that followed, was key in broadening American sensibilities of what is, and is not, poetry. Ginsberg's life has been dramatized in two major motion pictures: Howl, where James Franco portrays the poet after he was arrested for "obscenity"; and Kill Your Darlings, with Daniel Radcliffe as the poet in a real-life murder-thriller that defined the poet's future career.

I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes From The End Of The Wolrd

Kai Cheng Thom

"What can we hope for at the end of the world? What can we trust in when community has broken our hearts? What would it mean to pursue justice without violence? How can we love in the absence of faith? In a heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems, blending the confessional, political, and literary, acclaimed poet and essayist Kai Cheng Thom dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today.

The Essential Rumi

Maulana Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī

A collection of poetry by the thirteenth century Sufi saint cover topics ranging from emptiness and silence to elegance and majesty.

Animal Joy: A Book Of Laughter And Resuscitation

Nuar Alsadir

Taking laughter's revelatory capacity as a starting point, and rooted in Nuar Alsadir's experience as a poet and psychoanalyst, Animal Joy is an ode to spontaneity and feeling alive.

Letter To My Daughter

Maya Angelou

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou's path to living well and living a life with meaning. Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a "lifelong endeavor," or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice--Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.

Cyborg Detective

Jillian Marie Weise

With acerbic aplomb, Jillian Weise's third collection of poems investigates disability and ableism in the literary canon.

The Selected Works of Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

A definitive selection of prose and poetry from the self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," for a new generation of readers. Audre Lorde is an unforgettable voice in twentieth-century literature, one of the first to center the experiences of black, queer women. Her incisive essays and passionate poetry-alive with sensuality, vulnerability, and rage-remain indelible contributions to intersectional feminism, queer theory, and critical race studies. This essential reader showcases twelve landmark essays and more than sixty poems, selected and introduced by one of our most powerful contemporary voices on race and gender, Roxane Gay. The essays include "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House," "I Am Your Sister," and excerpts from the National Book Award-winning A Burst of Light. The poems are drawn from Lorde's nine volumes, including National Book Award nominee The Land Where Other People Live. As Gay writes in her astute introduction, The Selected Works of Audre Lorde celebrates "an exemplar of public intellectualism who is as relevant in this century as she was in the last."

Time Is A Mother

Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong's second collection of poetry looks inward, on the aftershocks of his mother's death, and the struggle - and rewards - of staying present in the world. Time Is a Mother moves outward and onward, in concert with the themes of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, as Vuong continues, through his work, his profound exploration of personal trauma, of what it means to be the product of an American war in America, and how to circle these fragmented tragedies to find not a restoration, but the epicenter of the break.

By CynthiaM on April 12, 2024