National Celebration of Poetry

While poetry is an art form that should be celebrated all year round, the month of April was selected by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to recognize poetry’s important place in our culture.

Poem in Your Pocket image.In celebration of National Poetry Month all branches of JMRL will be handing out poem scrolls on Thursday, April 30, which is known as Poem in Your Pocket Day. Poems will also be handed out in various locations in Charlottesville, at UVa and Martha Jefferson hospitals, the Senior Center, ACAC in Albemarle Square, and several businesses along the Downtown Mall. Stop by one of those locations or your local library to pick up your very own poem and read it aloud to yourself, a friend, a coworker or a family member, or just keep it in your pocket for a rainy day. You never know what you’ll get!

Check out one of these collections of poetry by Virginia poets and let the celebration begin:

How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr – Gregory Orr continues his acclaimed project on the “beloved” with a lyrical sequence about the joys and hungers of being fully engaged in life. Through concise, perfectly formed poems, he wakes us to the ecstatic possibilities of recognizing and risking love. Mary Oliver has called this project “gorgeous,” and said that he “speaks of the events that have no larger or more important rival in our lives—of our love and our loving.”

Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid by Nikki Giovanni – One of America’s most celebrated poets whose works have spurred movements, inspired songs, turned hearts and informed generations pays homage to gatherings of friends, family and lovers where, at the center, is food as sustenance, as aphrodisiac and as memory.

Secure the Shadow: Poems by Claudia Emerson – A collection of poems centered around the death of the author’s father and brother addresses how to turn loss into freedom and meaning for those left behind.

Outlaw Style: Poems by R.T. Smith – Outlaw Style is a collection of narrative and lyric poems, many of them in the tradition of Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues. Throughout Outlaw Style formal and vernacular rhythms stand in counterpoint, images of violence excavate a stark and troubling beauty, and history and mystery fuse and feud, as the landscape and culture of the American South are presented for interrogation and understanding.

Caribou by Charles Wright – A collection by the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and other prestigious accolades meditates on life and nature while exploring the author’s restless pursuit of a divine reality.

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