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April is National Poetry Month

Since 1996, the Academy of American Poets has been celebrating April as National Poetry Month. And while poetry probably isn't the first thing that springs to mind when you think about the Bentley Library's collections, the library does own plenty of books of and about poetry; a recent catalog search for the word "poems" yielded almost 1500 results. Almost all of those books can be found on the second floor, from our most recent acquisitions -- St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott's latest book White Egrets and a new definitive edition of Massachusetts native Elizabeth Bishop's collected poems -- to classic favorites like Shakespeare's sonnets and the complete poems of Emily Dickinson. Don't know where to start? Try the Poetry Foundation's website, where you can explore poems by topics like friendship or pets, or read their Poem of the Day. If you're new to poetry, you might also be interested in Emily Gould's short article "Independent Study," which details one poetry newbie's foray into the genre. Or check out the official National Poetry Month website, which includes a national Poetry Map of Events for April. And for the moment, enjoy the beginning of a poem from the new Elizabeth Bishop book mentioned above. The poem's title is, sadly, appropriate for this particular April: "A Cold Spring."

"A cold spring: the violet was flawed on the lawn. For two weeks or more the trees hesitated; the little leaves waited, carefully indicating their characteristics. Finally a grave green dust settled over your big and aimless hills."

(In Bishop, Elizabeth. Poems. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011, page 55).