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Hey Hey, it’s National Poetry Month!

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Happy National Poetry Month, friends! The Poetry and Literature Center staff is working from home these days, but we’re excited to say that we’ve been busy developing new virtual resources to share with you in response to this particular moment. Check back here throughout the month of April for more announcements!

Tomorrow, April 2, at 2:00 PM, join Library of Congress education specialists for a special conversation on poetry resources to kick off National Poetry Month. Rebecca Newland, former Teacher in Residence (author of our “Teacher’s Corner” blog series), and Peter Armenti, literature specialist at the Library (also of From the Catbird Seat blogging fame), will talk all things Library of Congress poetry and literature. Join the conversation here, which will include a 20 minute presentation with plenty of time for questions and answers with Library experts. (And find out more about upcoming “online office hours” sessions occurring each Tuesday and Thursday in the coming weeks.)

And, as you hopefully know, we have a wealth of existing poetry-related resources and projects on our website that we continue to champion and build upon, including:

Ralph Ellison / photo by Gordon Parks. Prints and Photographs Division.

Explore the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, which contains nearly 2,000 audio recordings of celebrated poets and writers participating in literary events at the Library of Congress, along with sessions recorded in the Recording Laboratory in the Library’s Jefferson Building, dating back to 1943. Until 2015, when we began digitizing the collection, most of these recordings were only available to those who visited the Library of Congress in person. Hundreds of these recordings are now streaming online—easily accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection. Later this month, we’ll release 50 newly digitized recordings to the online collection (including a rare recording by Ralph Ellison!), so check back for that launch!

Read 180 poems through Billy Collins’ Poetry 180 laureate project! Launched in 2002, Poetry 180 was designed to give high school students a chance to listen to or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. “Hearing a poem every day, especially well-written, contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might convince students that poetry can be an understandable, painless and even eye-opening part of their everyday experience,” Collins said of the project’s inception. Of course, you don’t have to be a high school student or teacher to appreciate what Poetry 180 has to offer. Read a poem and subscribe to Poetry 180 today!

Dig into our “Poetry of America” series, a collection of field recordings from contemporary American poets. Poets choose a singular poem written by another American poet from any period in the nation’s history, record themselves reading the poem, and then provide commentary that speaks to how the poem connects to, deepens, or re-imagines a sense of the nation.

Watch previous literary events at the Library of Congress! All of our events are captured on video and archived as webcasts on our site. Check out our Life of a Poet series, for instance, which offers behind-the-scenes conversations between some of the country’s most-loved poets and Washington Post book critic Ron Charles. Ron masterfully draws from the poet’s bibliography and biography to lead the conversation, many times choosing poems for the poet to read aloud that the poet hadn’t read in years.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Of course, these are just a few resources to get you in the poetry zone this month. We’re also thrilled to announce that Poet Laureate Joy Harjo is curating the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day feature for National Poetry Month, so don’t miss out on receiving a poem in your inbox each day specially chosen by Joy!

We’re hard at work finalizing some big announcements and launches this month, so stay tuned!



  1. When I Was Young

    When I was young and handsome, no care had I to give.
    I thought not much of years on Earth, nor how long I would live.

    When I was young and handsome, none others did I see.
    I cared too much about myself, to see much more than me.

    When I was young and handsome, I sought no self-control.
    I cared too much for revelry, to think about my soul.

    Now years have faded beauty, and visiting the past,
    I wish I spent more time with God and valued things that last.

    Michael McLoughlin
    Feb. 14, 2000

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