Poetry Month

Every April, the world celebrates poetry! The month is a reminder that poets play an integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. To celebrate, we have a lot of opportunities to read, listen, connect, and create with poetry in a variety of ways.

“Poetry is humanity's oldest form of literature–it's both ancient and modern. If you don't like reading it, you can listen to it,” said Jack Kovaleski, Community Engagement Librarian. “If you don't like listening to it, you can write it! Give it a chance and it will surprise you.”

Poetry Listening Station

Poets write what Robert Frost called "the sound of sense." Poetry read aloud can bring the words to life, helping a poem resonate with the reader. Experience the sound of sense at our poetry listening station in The Commons on the second floor of the Downtown Library, beginning April 2!

The listening station features a selection from Poetry Speaks, a compilation of poets reading their own work. Kovaleski says the poems were chosen to reflect different styles and traditions, including poets from the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement, Beat poets, Modernists, Victorians, and more.

You can also listen to a special recording by local poet Alex Swartzentruber (see Poetry in the Plaza below!) and episodes of the podcast Poetry Unbound, hosted by Pádraig Ó Tuama–a show for people who love poetry and those who are wary of it!


Create your own poetry zine with a special poetry month Take and Make Kit! A zine (pronounced like a magazine) is a do-it-yourself publication often created on paper and easily duplicated with a printer or photocopy machine. From glue sticks and markers to writing prompts and poems for inspiration, each kit contains all of the supplies you’ll need to make your own poetry zine. Pick up a kit from the Downtown Library. The kits are geared toward adults, teens, and tweens age 9 and up.

Turn maps into poems! In our tween spatial poetry activity, words on maps can be highlighted or erased to make a story or idea. Write a poem that follows the shape of a road or river, or collage words onto a map to make a poem and work of art. You can find the project materials in the Tween Space activity cart at the Downtown Library, available during Tween Space hours.


Jump into poetry month with other literature lovers to discuss your favorite poems, poets, and all things poetry-related virtually at our Books Plus book club. Age 16 and up. It’s Sunday, April 3 from 2–3 PM. Register for the Zoom link.

Create Blackout Poetry––works of poetry and art using old books and sharpies––at the Ellettsville Teen Space on Tuesday, April 12 from 3:30–4:30 PM. Ages 12–19. Drop in.

Join Stages Bloomington for a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza––presented by child performers! All of your favorite Seuss characters spring to life on stage in the Seussical JR. preview on April 16 from 1:30–2:15 PM. All ages. Please register. Seuss is best known for his children's books written mostly in anapestic tetrameter, a poetic meter employed by many poets of the English literary canon.

Join local poets from the Writers Guild at Bloomington at Poetry in the Plaza, an outdoor performance celebrating National Poetry Month. It’s April 23 from 4–6 PM in the Library Plaza at the Downtown Library! Drop by anytime.

Dig into the magic of crafting stories and poems with a local poet at our teen Poetry Workshop with Saami Ghaus. Drop in to The Ground Floor teen space on April 27 from 5–6:30 PM. No prior experience is necessary. Ages 12–19.

Finally, celebrate the power of poetry with a virtual reading from local famed poet, Ross Gay! Hosted by Bartholomew, Brown, Monroe, and Jackson County Public Libraries, this event will take place virtually on Zoom. Age 16 and up. Register for the April 28 event. Can’t make it? Watch a recording of our previous event with Gay.


The blossoming beauty of nature and the ever-changing weather of April seem like the perfect partners for poetry! Drop by the Library to check out our various physical displays stocked with staff picks for all ages.

If spring showers are keeping you home, browse these online booklists then place interesting titles on hold! Celebrate the season with these recommendations. Or try books and compilations of modern poets from the United States and around the world. Do you find poetry intimidating? Novels in verse make a fantastic introduction to the genre! Here are some favorites from our teen services staff.