CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetrymagazine, will host an open house to celebrate the expanded hours and programs of its library. Festivities include readings by local poets of favorite poems from the library collection, poetry fortune-telling, poetry recording sessions, and a scavenger hunt. Wine and light refreshments will be served.
The Poetry Foundation Library houses the organization’s 30,000-volume collection—including books dating back to 1916—which had previously been in storage at Chicago’s Newberry Library. The noncirculating collection is now open to the public at the Poetry Foundation’s new home.
The first floor of the Poetry Foundation Library houses single-author volumes of poetry as well as a children’s area filled with more than 3,000 volumes of poetry books written for young people. The second floor contains anthologies and prose, including criticism, literary history, and biography.
The library’s special collections feature some notable volumes, including W.B. Yeats’s 1939 Cuala Press edition of On the Boilerand Louis Zukofsky’s 1956 collection Some Time. According to Poetry Foundation librarian Katherine Litwin, “The collection contains an amazing number of first- and limited-edition titles. As we continue to inventory the collection, we will undoubtedly discover many more treasures.” The Californians by Robinson Jeffers, published 95 years ago, currently ranks as the library’s oldest book, and a 1935 edition of The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes features Hughes’s inscription to Poetry’s founding editor Harriet Monroe.
More highlights from the special collections include a first edition of Delmore Schwartz’s Vaudeville for a Princess, an early version of The Sleeping Fury by Louise Bogan, and a first U.S. edition of Ariel by Sylvia Plath.
The Poetry Foundation Library will extend its hours this fall and expand its children’s programming. The library, now open to the general public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., will also be open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as of September 9. Beginning September 14, the library will be open on Wednesdays exclusively for young patrons and their guardians from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when librarians will be on hand to help young people with poetry-related homework and projects. Also on Wednesdays, and beginning September 21, the library will host Poemtime, an event introducing children age five and under to poetry through fun, interactive games.
The Poetry Foundation is open to the public from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information about this and other Poetry Foundation events, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org/events.