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In Celebration of National Poetry Month: An Ode to the Library

National Poetry Month - peoplewhowriteApril is National Poetry Month. Founded by the American Academy of Poets in 1996, the monthlong celebration presents multiple suggestions and opportunities for experiencing poetry including attending a reading, sharing your favorite poem on “Poem in Your Pocket” Day, and reading your own poetry at an open mic. In celebration, I’ve written a poem in honor of the library, one of my favorite places to write. Please share your favorite poems and poets in the comments section.

A Library is
By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

A library is
A choir
Of voices hallowed and profane
Whispering cheers and subversions
Preserving stories like griots
Like songs
Making sure you remember
So we never forget
Put your ear to the shelves
Not a spineless one

A library is
A federal reserve
Bullion bars of research and data
The keeper of theories proven and debunked
Hoarding relics and memories
Of the way we thought and think
The way we were
On rolling carts in musty stacks
On oak tag cards and rubber stamps
Broadband connections churning centuries of words and ideas

A library is
A shelter
The fallout from earnest and wicked shrugs about what to do with our homeless and mentally ill
See the line that stretches in the morning
Before the doors open
Men and women ragged from roaming the streets of their minds
Waiting for a warm, quiet place to be crazy
Where others go to be sane
From the craziness at home
And for the wi-fi

A library is
A junction
Where race, class, and generations converge at the intersection of homework, research, and resume triage
A free after school program
A NICU for concepts and dreams that need more time to develop
A daycare for the over-qualified
A place to go and feel productive
While you wait for the call
Because you will get the call

A library is
A luxury
Of a nation so rich
Not only the rich are entitled to a library
A necessity
Of a society committed to a future that builds on the wisdom of the past
A safe house for learning
A beacon
On a neighborhood block

6 responses to “In Celebration of National Poetry Month: An Ode to the Library

  1. Pingback: Just Opened: The Digital Public Library of America | people who write

  2. Pingback: Poem of the Day: "Heritage" by Countee Cullen | people who write

  3. Pingback: Poem of the Day: 'Continuing' by Deanna Nikaido | people who write

  4. Pingback: Poem of the Day: "Resurrection" by Mary Ann Bernard | people who write

  5. Pingback: Poem of the Day: "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell | people who write

  6. Pingback: For Love or Money? | people who write

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