2012 National Poetry Month Poster designed by Chin-Yee Lai, feat. lines from U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine's poem "Our Valley."

April is National Poetry Month, and all of us here at the Library as Incubator Project are getting excited!

As a poet myself, I know from experience that libraries play a crucial role in the evolution of a poem from a strange idea into a legitimate piece of art, rich with metaphor, emotion, and meaning.  I also know that anyone can enjoy poetry, not just poets and fans– you just have to find the right kind!

And that’s where libraries can help to make poetry more visible, more accessible and more fun.

The poets who have submitted their work to us value their libraries and librarians, too:

Ray Hsu believes that “Librarians can work alongside other artists–if they’re not doing so already–to turn librarianship into a hybrid creative practice.” 

Poet Rita Mae Reese invented our popular workshop Kit, “Primary Sources, or, How to Steal Your Next Great Idea from the Library Stacks” specifically to teach new writers how to use the library as inspiration.

Poet and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Salcman describes his ideal library as a place that includes an area where he could create visual art and find new inspiration, with “open magazine racks displaying the latest issues of all the major poetry magazines, as well as issues of the latest art magazines, all in one place… an open display was an important way to fall in love with a magazine and learn which ones might accept your work.”

We’re excited to share great ideas for quick poetry programs; interactive poetry resources, including audio, video, and image archives available online; and library-incubated work from poets around the world.  But most of all, we want to share you!

Are you a librarian?

Do you curate a fantastic poetry collection at your library? Have you hosted a successful poetry program for kids, teens, or adults? Do you collaborate with local writers to share their work and expertise with patrons? Take our survey and tell us about it.

Are you a poet?

Do you use your library as an office or a space for public readings?  Do library collections inform and inspire your work?  Take our artist questionnaire & submit poems to be featured on the site.

Do you have a favorite poet or resource?

A website for discovering new poets and poems?  A favorite recording of a poet performing his or her work at a reading or slam? An beloved collection or poetic form?  Shoot us an e-mail at libraryasincubatorproject@gmail.com, post on Facebook, or send us a note on Twitter @IArtLibraries.

We’re excited to see what you share!


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