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What We're Reading: National Poetry Month



Kathleen is an award-winning poet and a librarian at New Orleans Public Library. She currently serves on the Stonewall Book Award committee for children's and young adult literature and is the manager at Central City Library.

Poetry month is a wonderful time of year for me, but also a bit of a tricky one. As a poet, I meet a lot of people who feel guilty about their dislike of poetry. Often they are impressed that I write the stuff, but they have no interest in it, as though I were a chef who specializes in Starry Gazey Pie. 

As a librarian, I meet a lot of people who are interested but a little intimidated by poetry. They want to read it, but they’re afraid any book they try will prove the limits of their own intelligence. Then there are the poets themselves, many of whom have read so much that there is almost nothing they don’t already know about –– they’re hungry for something new. They’re hungry, but they’re also picky. 

To the first group I say: “Poetry is like music. Everybody likes music, we just don’t all like the same kind.” To all these groups I say: “Trust librarians. We can help you find the right books for you, though it may involve some trial and error.” 

And with that advice, I bring you the following recommendations, with a caveat: you might not like the first or even the second book you try, but I’ll be surprised if you don’t find even one that you love.  

Poetry Recommendations for Every Kind of Reader 

Poetry for People Who Love a Good Story: 

Poetry for the Well-Versed Reader to Try or Revisit: 

Writing Tips to Survive NaNoWriMo 

November is here, and that means NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. The New Orleans Public Library is hosting workshops throughout the month to connect you with other local writers to share thoughts, struggles, successes, and writing tips.

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