poetry is everywhere

November 21, 2021

Chicago is home to the Poetry Foundation and the American Writers Museum, so perhaps it should not be surprising to find poets and poetry seeping into every aspect of life in the Windy City. Indeed, at 201 West Madison, downtown, in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, you can self-park in The Poetry Garage.

There, instead of struggling to remember whether your car is parked on 4 or 5, you have Emily Dickinson or W.H. Auden to remind you. Plus, while you’re waiting for the elevator, there’s a poem to read, courtesy of the floor’s official poet.

Built in 1988, with a facade designed by Lucien Lagrange, the self-park structure was rebranded as The Poetry Garage in 2011.

. . . . .
Thanks to Rick Lupert and The Poetry Superhighway for the heads up!

awards season

September 18, 2021

A few days ago, we mentioned the Washington State Book Awards, and that Patricia Smith had been awarded the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize. Smith’s award is dazzling, and we should also note the Academy of American Poets prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award, which went to Toi Derricotte, the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, the National Book Foundation’s 2021 National Book Awards Longlist for Poetry, and poet Patricia Lockwood, whose debut novel, No One Is Talking About This, has been shortlisted for both the 2021 Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Congratulations finalists and winners!

Poetry prizes are announced throughout the year. Finalists for the UK’s T.S. Eliot Prize and Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards will be announced in mid-October.

The Poetry Foundation today announced that Patricia Smith has been awarded the 2021 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. One of the most prestigious awards given to American poets, the $100,000 prize honors a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. Read the announcement here.

More about Patricia Smith here.

Poetry Out Loud

March 22, 2020


(from left) Tamar Krames, ArtsWA Arts in Education Program Manager; Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanagon High School and first runner-up; Jordan Mattox, junior at Mead High School and state champion; Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director. Photograph by Pavel Verbovski.

Jordan Mattox, a junior at Mead High School in Spokane, is the 2020 Poetry Out Loud Washington State Champion. She was among 12 high school students who competed at the State Final held March 7, 2020, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

“I didn’t start off absolutely loving poetry, but once you find a poem that really resonates with you, your appreciation for just literature in general can be deepened so quickly. That’s what happened to me,” said Jordan. “It’s such a great way for one to express themselves and it’s a way to share with other people things that are important to you — it’s why Poetry Out Loud is so important to me.”

The first runner-up was Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanogan High School in Okanogan and last year’s champion. Honorable mentions went to Yeshi Berry, a senior at Vancouver School for Arts and Academics in Vancouver; Mercy Haub, a sophomore at Shorewood High School in Shoreline; and Cooper Siems, a freshman at Concordia Christian Academy in Tacoma.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is the coordinating agency in our state. All participating students choose and memorize poems from the official Poetry Out Loud anthology. At the state and national finals, students are required to have three poems prepared. Jordan Mattox’s poems included “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson, and “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest, with “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb as the final recitation.

Jordan Mattox will receive an award of $200 and Mead High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. First runner-up, Madeline Luther, will receive $100, with $200 for her school’s library. The State Champion would normally advance to the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, DC, but that event, scheduled for late April, has unfortunately been cancelled.

Congratulations to Jordan Mattox, and to all the Poetry Out Loud competitors. Watch Jordan recite “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson.

good listening

March 7, 2020

As we catch up with poetry podcasts, somehow we’ve missed The Slowdown, an every-weekday podcast by Tracy K. Smith produced in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. In each approximately 5-minute episode, Smith (or occasionally another reader) introduces and then reads a single poem.

Listen or subscribe at all the usual podcast places. Plenty to catch up with here; March 6 was episode 335.

February 14

February 14, 2020


found poem © j.i. kleinberg

Read some love poems.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

local luminary

January 12, 2020

It has been nearly three years since we posted about The Poetry Foundation’s twice-monthly podcast series, Poetry Off the Shelf. The original post was at the suggestion of Sheila Sondik, and this update comes from Sheila as well, with the recognition that “it’s not every day we have a local luminary featured.” Have a look at the January 7, 2020, episode, “Dreams and Fathers,” which features Bruce Beasley on his writing process, and on how fathers might be like warm ice cubes.

new video series

September 13, 2019

Launching this week, Ours Poetica is a year-long video series created by the Poetry Foundation and Complexly and curated by poet Paige Lewis. Each episode presents a reader (poets and otherwise) “reading a poem that is meaningful to them, and discussing their connection to it, or inspiration for it.” Visit Ours Poetica on YouTube and enjoy a new poem each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

speaking of poetry libraries

December 17, 2018

The Poetry Foundation Library in Chicago is the Midwest’s only library dedicated to poetry. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. The library is open weekdays 11:00am–4:00pm (check website for holiday closures).

take five

October 5, 2018

Got five minutes? Poet laureate Tracy K. Smith will fill your ears with poetry for five minutes, five days a week, starting in November when “The Slowdown” goes live.

The free podcast, produced by American Public Media in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Poetry Foundation, will present Smith reading works by a wide array of poets from around the world.

Read more about the program, listen to a preview, or sign up now.

%d bloggers like this: