National Poetry Month (still)

About Aaron McCollough

English Literature Librarian, University of Michigan

We’re already half way through April, which is (as we all know) National Poetry Month. Here at the University of Michigan, we have a very well regarded graduate program in creative writing, and I’m happy that the library has been enthusiastic about partnering with the English Department to highlight the poetry talents of the faculty. This year, we put on three poetry events in our library gallery space. Two of the events were poetry readings (featuring Keith Taylor, Tung-Hui Hu, Raymond McDaniel, Ken Mikolowski, Linda Gregerson, Laura Kasischke, A. Van Jordan, Benjamin Paloff, and Cody Walker). The other event was a panel discussion on the subject of “poetry and difficulty,” featuring professors Benjamin Paloff, Douglas Trevor, and John Whittier-Ferguson. All of the events were well attended, and they seemed to produce real excitement in the audience. I was pleased to get many people from the university community into the library for this and to cast focused attention on poetry for a few days.

April isn’t over, but our semester is, which means we probably won’t be doing much more for poetry month here this year. My wheels are turning for next year, however. I wonder what others are up to. Do you do special things to observe National Poetry Month at your library? If so, I’m sure many of us would love to hear about it (and maybe steal some of your ideas…).

If you’re still working on Poetry-month-related programming, here are some other interesting idea sources:

* The Academy of American Poets Official National Poetry Month pages
— including this nice list of “30 Ways to Celebrate”
— & including this nice calendar of events
* We’re six days off form “POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY,” and easy guerilla-style way to celebrate
*The Poetry Foundation also has lots to offer on the subject
* This may not be a very good poem, but it does talk about moustaches:


NB: Video of all of three of this years’ MLibrary National Poetry Month events was captured, and it will be posted on the library’s website as soon as I have all of the consent forms back from the participants.

One Response to “National Poetry Month (still)”

  1. Aline Soules says:

    We run a student poetry contest in advance of National Poetry Month and we announce the winners (and give prizes, courtesy of a donor) at the poetry series event we hold in honor of Poetry month. The judges include the director of our creative writing program, another creative writing professor, the husband and wife donors of the prizes, and me, the library liaison, although I think it’s more because I write and publish poetry and just had a new book published in December 2011).

    We also do a big splashy exhibit for the annual production of Arroyo, our campus literary magazine, including a “launch” at a local bar as well as on campus events. Local authors published in Arroyo come to the launch and read some of their work. Of course, the same cast of characters tends to attend these types of things.

    Both these events take a lot of work on everyone’s part, but they’re totally worth it. That said, while I like some of Aaron’s ideas, we are stretched so thin these days that I’ve not tried to do anything more. There just isn’t time.

Leave a Reply