Celebrate Poetry Month With CPL

Please join us in celebration of National Poetry Month. Throughout the month of April, Chicago Public Library will host workshops, open mics, readings and programs at various neighborhood locations.

The theme this year of Poetry and Censorship invites reflection on the power of words and the challenges poets have faced throughout history. By addressing Poetry and Censorship, we will highlight the struggles poets have faced and also emphasize the importance of free expression and the role of poetry in challenging societal norms. It's an opportunity for the community to come together, share their own poetic creations, and engage in meaningful discussions about the impact of censorship on the arts.

The celebration takes place across various CPL locations, making poetry accessible to everyone. Participants can explore different perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of poetic expression.

Featured Event

Poetry Fest and National Poet Laureate Ada Limón
Poetry Month will culminate with the 25th anniversary of Poetry Fest at Chicago Public Library on Saturday April 27 at Harold Washington Library Center. A day of poetry workshops, panels and vendors for participants of all ages. We are pleased to be able to host the currently serving 24th Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón, as the keynote speaker to anchor our day.

Poetry Month Events

View highlights below and all Poetry Month events in our calendar.

Light Up the Room: Poetry Performance Workshop With Elizabeth Marino and Willa Moore
1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, Uptown Branch

Film Screening: Walt Whitman American Masters
4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, Chicago Bee Branch

Poetry Reading: Faith in Poetry
2 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Woodson Regional Library

Poetry Puzzles With Nikki Patin
1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Greater Grand Crossing Branch

Poetry and Film With Vittorio Carli
2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Back of the Yards Branch

What We See, We Write With Haydee "HR" Souffrant
6 p.m. Monday, April 15, Oriole Park Branch

Poetry Slam
6 p.m. Monday, April 15, Edgebrook Branch

Write to Rise With J.ARTiz
6 p.m Tuesday, April 16, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch

Poetry of Possibility With Janine Harrison
6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, West Pullman Branch

Film Screening: Poetry in America
6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, South Chicago Branch

SIJO: Korean Poetry Workshop
2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, Harold Washington Library Center

Poetry Reading and Open Mic With P.O. Box Collective
2 p.m .Saturday, April 20, Rogers Park Branch

Poetry Reading: Truth is the Way With Hausson Byrd, Kenneth Coleman and Janine Harrison
3 p.m Saturday, April 20, Avalon Branch

Poetry Jam: My Voice is My Power
1 p.m. Saturday, April 27, North Austin

Poetry Fest Keynote: 24th Poet Laureate Ada Limón
2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, Harold Washington Library Center

Exhibit: Words for Decades: Celebrating Poetry at CPL

Words for Decades Exhibit: Celebrating Poetry at Chicago Public Library exhibit opens at Logan Square Branch, Richard J. Daley Branch and West Pullman Branch on April 1. Curated by the Chicago Public Library Poetry Committee and Exhibits Unit at Chicago Public Library, Words for Decades highlights one hundred years of poets, poetry movements, and poetry events in Chicago. Learn more.

Recommended Reading

Staff Favorites for National Poetry Month: For Kids
Novels in Verse and Poetry for Teens
Staff Favorites for National Poetry Month (2024)
24 Recent Poetry Highlights for National Poetry Month 2024

Recommended Online Resource

In 2020, CPL partnered with Library of America, American Writers Museum and The Poetry Foundation to celebrate the publication of African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song. Watch a recording of this event, featuring Kevin Young, Billy Branch, Pemon Rami, Roy Kinsey, Avery R. Young, Emily Hooper Lansana,  Eve Ewing, Christine Wack and others.