Poetry can hit the soul in just the right spot — articulating awe and wonder or illustrating a complex concept with a single image. When Amanda Gorman took the podium at the president’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, she united the world with her poem, The Hill We Climb. In it, she gave voice to the collective unease of that time. It was a healing moment.
April is National Poetry Month, and we are celebrating. The Knox County Public Library has a robust collection of poetry and books about poets. We invite you to discover a variety of poems and poets this month. Hearing it recited is always a wonderful way to experience poetry.
KCPL reference librarian Alan May is a poet in his own right. He and colleague Melissa Brenneman produce The Beat, a short poetry podcast series featuring poets reciting their own work. Most episodes are less than 10 minutes, making it easy to explore new work. You might want to subscribe to the series.
Next Monday, April 10, the Library is excited to host Maurice Manning, in a special All Over the Page book discussion at Lawson McGhee Library at 6:30. Not only will he recite poetry from his book Bucolics, but he’ll also strum the banjo and lead a conversation on his work and on poetry in general. Manning’s first book of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions (2001), was selected by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His book The Common Man (2010) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.
The following Saturday, April 15, Knoxville’s Poet Laureate, RheaSunshine, will lead a poetry writing workshop for teens (ages 13-19) at Lawson McGhee Library with Knoxville Writers Guild. The event takes place from 11 to 1:30. Students will write poems and be invited to perform their pieces later this spring at an open mic celebration for the 2023 Youth Poet Laureate of Knoxville.
We hope you’ll celebrate National Poetry Month with us.
Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library