Poet in Motion: Levine Discusses his Tenure as Laureate, the State of his Craft

The following interview with Philip Levine was conducted by Donna Urschel, a Public Affairs Specialist in the Library’s Office of Communications, and originally published in the March 30th issue of the Library’s staff newsletter, the Gazette. In the interview, Levine shared his thoughts on his tenure as Poet Laureate, the state of poetry today, the […]

Tinker to Evers to Chance

Here are two quick questions to consider on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day: 1) What is your favorite baseball poem? 2) What is your favorite baseball poem—other than “Casey at the Bat”? Most people can easily answer the first question, but are stymied by the second question because, in all likelihood, they’re unable to name […]

Poetry Contests, the National Library of Poetry, and Amateur Poetry Anthologies

One of my jobs as a digital reference specialist is to answer questions submitted through the Poetry and Literature Center’s Ask a Librarian form. The questions I receive tend to cluster around two or three major categories, such as how to find literary criticism on a novel and how to locate the full text of […]

Come Away!

The following is a guest post by Hope O’Keeffe, supervisory attorney-advisor in the Office of the General Counsel at the Library of Congress. You never know when you’ll change someone’s life. In third grade, I spent an afternoon visiting Great Aunt Mill’s friend Laura Hulse, a real poet with the most books I’d ever seen […]

Not For Sissies

The following is a guest post by Denise Gallo, supervisory librarian for the Acquisition And Processing Section, Music Division at the Library of Congress. Until I turned to musicology in the late 1990s, I taught college English. Most semesters, I was constrained to read (and correct) sentence fragments and make sure my students didn’t dangle […]

Phillis Wheatley

To mark the beginning of Women’s History Month, which follows on the heels of African American History Month, From the Catbird Seat would like to recognize Phillis Wheatley’s major impact on both literary history and women’s history. In 1773, Wheatley became the first African American woman to publish a book.  Wheatley’s book, a volume of […]

George Washington: Love Poet

From the Catbird Seat decided to combine our celebrations of Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day—not an easy thing to do!—by highlighting the youthful poetic efforts of George Washington. Yes, well before Washington was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army or President of the United States, he was just another teenage boy who turned to […]

What Do Poets Laureate Do?

On August 10, 2011, Philip Levine was appointed the 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. As the current U.S. Poet Laureate, Levine now occupies one of the best known literary positions in the country. Yet despite its high public profile, there are many aspects of the laureateship that remain unclear, […]

Remembering Langston Hughes

The following is a guest post by Caitlin Rizzo, staffer for the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. Last Wednesday marked what would have been the 110th birthday of beloved American poet Langston Hughes. In celebration of this milestone, the Manuscript Division and the Poetry and Literature Center co-hosted a Literary Birthday […]