Poem in Your Pocket Day was created as part of the celebration of National Poetry Month in April and JMRL has been participating for over 10 years. Poem in Your Pocket Day will be celebrated on Thursday, April 25 and all branches of JMRL will be giving out poem scrolls. Besides passing out poems at the libraries, JMRL staffers will also be handing out poems at various locations throughout the community, including on the Downtown Mall and on the lawn.
JMRL will also be holding Poetry on the Steps at 7pm at the Central Library on Thursday, April 25. This is an open mic event available for anyone to come by and read an original poem, read their favorite poem, or just sit back and listen. Refreshments will be served and the winners of the library’s Adult Poetry Contest will be announced. Both events are sponsored by the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, with WriterHouse serving as a co-sponsor of the Adult Poetry Contest. This year’s finalist judge is Virginia’s Poet Laureate Henry Hart.
National Poetry Month was founded in April 1996 and is celebrated by reading poems and highlighting the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets.
Here are a few new books of poetry by American poets to try:
Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui. Bitsui is a Diné (Navajo) poet from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona. His previous book of poetry, Flood Song, won an American Book Award. He currently teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Oculus by Sally Wen Mao. Mao was born in China and grew up in Boston and the Bay Area. She has written two books of poetry and her work has been published in numerous magazines. Mao is currently teaching in the Asian American Studies department at Hunter College.
Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed. Reed was born in South Carolina and his work often deals with what it means to be a queer black man in America. This is his first full-length book of poetry and it won the National Book Award in Poetry in 2018.
Nearing Ninety by Judith Viorst. Viorst grew up in New Jersey and is the author of a series of light verse books on aging. She is a noted children’s book author, but also writes fiction for adults. Viorst has won numerous awards, including the Foremother Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011.
This April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, check out one of these biographies on some of the world’s most renowned poets:
A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears & Laughter by Nikki Giovanni – Offers an intimate, affecting and revealing look at Giovanni’s personal history as she ruminates on her life and the people who have helped shape her into the woman she has become.
Langston Hughes by Rebecca Carey Rohan – Social activist, poet, novelist, playwright, and pioneer, Hughes was the Renaissance man of the Harlem Renaissance. Learn about his life and influences, and how his work affected the world we live in.
Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder – A biography which captures the month Plath spent in New York City in June 1953 as a guest editor for the annual college issue of “Mademoiselle” magazine.
Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love by Brad Gooch – Recounts the life of Persian poet Rumi, from being displaced by Mongol terror to Turkey in his childhood to his education under Shams of Tabriz, who transformed Rumi from a respectable Muslim preacher to a poet and mystic. Continue reading