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National Poetry Month



National Poetry Month logo

Join the University Libraries in celebrating National Poetry Month this April!

This year’s celebration takes as inspiration the poem "blessing the boats" by Lucille Clifton, and its final lines:

“...and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that"

Throughout the month of April, visit any Libraries location to receive a pocket poem to carry with you throughout your day. Community members were also invited to visit the East Entrance of Norlin Library on April 9th, 2023 and April 10th, 2024 to create poetry in community. The final collaborative poem is located on this guide in the "Community Poem 2024" tab.


2024 National Poetry Month Poster

Recommended books of poetry

Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000

Lucille Clifton won the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Award. Her book, Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions), won the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry. Two of Clifton's BOA poetry collections were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

The Hurting Kind

An astonishing collection about interconnectedness--between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves--from National Book Critics Circle Award winner, National Book Award finalist and U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón.

The Hill We Climb

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her call for unity and healing.


Tracy K. Smith's bold second poetry collection explores history and the intersections of folk traditions, political resistance, and personal survival. Duende gives passionate testament to suppressed cultures, and allows them to sing.

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form.

Words under the Words

The poems in the last third of this book focus directly on Nye's Palestinian American heritage, as the poet tours the Mideast, inquisitive and frustrated. Drawn from three previous collections, this selection coincides with the publication of Red Suitcase, a volume of new work (BOA Editions, 1994).


Claudia Rankine's bold book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

Dear Jenny We Are All Find

Jenny Zhang's poems broadcast themselves with a surrealist anxiety. 'Can't I be my own dream?' she asks. The answer is always yes and always no. With dizzying energy and intelligence, Zhang forages through familial, global, and even anatomical configurations vainly outlining an identity that manifests only to shift and move restlessly on.

Words Like Love

In her debut collection, poet Tanaya Winder sings the joys, glories, and laments of love. Love is defined by familial, cultural, platonic, and romantic bonds in these emotional and thoughtfully rendered poems. Her voice traverses the darkness in a quest to learn more about the most complex of subjects.

Recommended poetry databases

Literature Online Core (LION Core)

Collection of English and American poetry, drama, and literature, with criticism. From Old English to current literary works.

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature

Literary and dramatic criticism published since 1920.

Columbia Granger's World of Poetry

Database of poems organized by subject and searchable multiple ways, with citations to poems in common anthologies.