Well-Versed for National Poetry Month

For fans of free and blank verse who will be celebrating all things poetry this April for National Poetry Month, the Library Foundation and ALOUD can help you get your poetry fix. This weekend Members of the Library Foundation will gather with participating authors of the Los Angeles Times Book Festival at the 5th Annual Book Drop Bash. Attending authors include U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who will be receiving the 2015 Robert Kirsch Award for his literary contributions. You can also catch Herrera for a special evening of poetry at ALOUD on Wednesday, April 20th

Or find poetic inspiration at any time with the ALOUD video archives below– from a moving performance of America’s most quintessential ode, to politically charged “citizenry” verses, to consoling meditations. Click here for the full spring calendar with upcoming ALOUD poetry events.


Acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and delivered the 2009 inauguration poem for President Obama, offers a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of family, art and community following the death of her husband in her memoir, The Light of the World. Poet Kevin Young, author of ten books of poetry, winner of the Lenore Marshall Award and a finalist for the National Book Award, gathers twenty years of highlights from his extraordinary career in his new compilation Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015. Longtime friends Alexander and Young share the stage for poetry, companionship, and to discuss their newest works: lyrical forays into life’s passages through grief and joy.


Two powerful poets read from their work and discuss how poetry can become an active tool for rethinking race in America. Robin Coste Lewis reads from her poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus, which lyrically catalogs representations of the black figure in the fine arts, with Claudia Rankine—a poet whose incendiary book, Citizen: An American Lyric—is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our often named “post-racial” society.


Philip Levine, the 18th Poet Laureate reads from his work and discusses life, literature, and his time in the Golden State with Robert Casper, Head of Poetry and Literature Center, Library of Congress.



“Song of Myself: Walt Whitman in Other Words” features a trilingual reading with Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Christopher Merrill and Sholeh Wolpé and musical performances by Sahba Motallebi.


The Poetry of America’s 2014 national series, “The Voice of Women in American Poetry,” celebrated an enormous literary heritage. Distinguished contemporary poets—both male and female—gathered in five cities around the country to pay tribute to the immense achievement of a wide range of poets. This Los Angeles program included poets Marilyn Chin on Ai, Toi Derricotte on Anne Sexton, and Percival Everett on Gertrude Stein.


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