Listen to 50 Newly Streaming Recordings—Just in Time for National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is here (arguably the most wonderful time of the year, but we’re biased), and we’re excited to share what we have in store.

The centerpiece of our annual April festivities is the release of 50 newly digitized recordings to the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature—and we’re delighted to say that this year is no different! If you’re unfamiliar with the archive, here’s a little history: The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature dates back to 1943 and contains nearly 2,000 audio recordings of 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.

Until 2015, when we started to digitize the collection, most of these recordings were only accessible to those who visited the Library of Congress and requested the magnetic reels in person. Including this month’s release, there are now 365 recordings from the archive streaming online—easily accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection. That’s one recording for each day of the year!

Among this year’s additions are readings and conversations featuring consultants in poetry Robert Hayden, Anthony Hecht, and William Jay Smith. For the first time streaming from the archive, you can also listen to recordings from Carolyn Kizer, May Miller, Michael McClure, Shreela Ray, John Okai, Sapphire, Paul Theroux, Quincy Troupe, and dozens more.

Here’s the full list of 2021 additions, now available for your listening pleasure:

  1. Abbie Huston Evans reading her poems in the Recording Laboratory, Jan. 22, 1964
  2. Alastair Reid reading his poems and translations with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Nov. 2, 1978
  3. An evening of postwar poetry of The Netherlands and Flanders: Hugo Claus, Judith Herzberg, Gerrit Kouwenaar, and Cees Nooteboom reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 26, 1984
  4. Ann Darr and Gloria Oden reading their poems in the Whittall Pavilion, Feb. 26, 1979
  5. Betty Adcock and Donald Justice reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 21, 1989
  6. Bicentennial poetry discussion: Galway Kinnell and Robert Earl Hayden in studio A of the Recording Laboratory, Nov. 5, 1976
  7. Carl Rakosi reading his poems in the Recording Laboratory, May 4, 1976
  8. Carol Snow and Laura Mullen reading their poems in the Mumford Room, Library of Congress, Mar. 14, 1996
  9. Cynthia MacDonald and Ruth Whitman reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Feb. 9, 1981
  10. Daud Kamal reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Aug. 26, 1975
  11. David Gewanter and Myra Sklarew reading their poems in the Montpelier Room, Nov. 13, 1997
  12. Donald Rodney Justice and Carolyn Kizer reading and discussing their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Apr. 16, 1973
  13. Faye Moskowitz reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Dec. 5, 1978
  14. Gerald Early and William H. Gass reading from their work in the Mumford Room, Mar. 4, 1993
  15. Herbert Woodward Martin reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Apr. 11, 1977
  16. Into something rich and strange: a lecture by Eleanor Cameron in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 14, 1977
  17. Irving Feldman and Lisel Mueller reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 29, 1982
  18. Isabella Gardner and John Logan reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 1, 1971
  19. Jane Cooper and Louis O. Coxe reading their poems in the Whittall Pavilion, Dec. 4, 1978
  20. Jean Garrigue reading her poems with comment in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 8, 1965
  21. Joel Oppenheimer reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, May 11, 1976
  22. John Beecher reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, April 10, 1963
  23. John Ciardi reading his poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 27, 1972
  24. John Hollander and Gary Snyder reading and discussing their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 26, 1973
  25. John Okai reading from his collection of poems, The oath of the Fontomfrom, in the Recording Laboratory, Sept. 17, 1974
  26. John Peck and Ellen Bryant Voigt reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Apr. 7, 1980
  27. Julia Watson Barbour reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Mar. 22, 1978
  28. Kathleen Raine reading her poems in the Recording Laboratory, Mar. 19, 1962
  29. Madeline DeFrees and Patricia Goedicke reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Dec. 1, 1981
  30. Marcella Miller Du Pont reading her poems in the Recording Laboratory, Apr. 9, 1968
  31. Mary Morris, Lee Smith, and Al Young, authors of three of the annual best short stories in the Pen Syndicated Fiction Project read their stories in the Montpelier Room, Dec. 12, 1991
  32. May Miller and Duane Niatum reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 29, 1976
  33. Mexican poets José Emilio Pacheco and Tomás Segovia reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Oct. 31, 1978
  34. Michael Burkard and Sapphire reading their poems with comment in the Mumford Room, Library of Congress, March 29, 2001
  35. Michael McClure and Ira Sadoff reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Oct. 21, 1980
  36. Naomi Madgett reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, May 23, 1978
  37. Owen Dodson reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Dec. 13, 1960
  38. Paul Engle reading his poems in the Recording Laboratory, Nov. 29, 1962
  39. Quincy Troupe reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, May 3, 1978
  40. Readings of cowboy poetry: readings by Sunny Hancock, Linda Hussa, and Paul Zarzyski in the Mumford Room, Apr. 7, 1994
  41. Robert Bly and Samuel John Hazo reading and discussing their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 22, 1976
  42. Ruth Whitman reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Oct. 18, 1974
  43. Sandra Hochman reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Jan. 28, 1975
  44. Shreela Ray reading her poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Nov. 5, 1979
  45. Siv Cedering Fox reading her poems in the Recording Laboratory, May 21, 1974
  46. Sydney Lea and David St. John reading their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 29, 1983
  47. The poet and the poem: Anthony Hecht, Jan. 28, 1988
  48. The uses and abuses of patronage: a lecture by Paul Theroux in the Coolidge Auditorium, Apr. 21, 1981
  49. Two American expatriate poets: Cyrus Cassells and Shirley Kaufman reading their poems in the Mumford Room, Mar. 17, 1994
  50. William Jay Smith reading his poems and his translations of poems of Andrei Voznesenskii in the Recording Laboratory, June 9, 1965

Please enjoy, explore, and tell us about your favorite recordings in the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature! If you’re hungry for more National Poetry Month content, make sure to join us on April 21 (with our friends from NCTE) for a teacher-focused webinar on implementing poetry audio recordings into the classroom, and on April 29 for our National Book Festival Presents “Poetry Spotlight” program with poets Victoria Chang and Brenda Shaughnessy.

We wish you a very happy National Poetry Month!

One Comment

  1. Donald Beagle
    April 22, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Please soon make available the April 1977 recording of Radcliffe Squires reading his poetry, including the first known poem about climate change & the great glacier melt: “The Garden of Prometheus.” I was recently interviewed by Scientific American blogger Dr. Sam Illingworth (about my own recent collection inspired by science), where we also discussed Squires & his 1977 LOC reading for Illingworth’s ong-running academic series “The Poetry of Science.” Notably, our interview drew favorable comments from Hans Christian von Baeyer, Chancellor Professor of Physics at William & Mary.

    https://thepoetryofscience.scienceblog.com/1651/driving-into-the-dreamtime-an-interview-with-donald-beagle/

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