Monday, February 15, 2016

The Poet’s House

New York City - Central Park by Kathleen Tyler Conklin

If someone told me to imagine 65,000 volumes of poetry books in a library, I would probably picture the yellowed, cracking pages of dusty tomes on shelves. But not so at Poet’s House, which sits at the tip of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River.  It is a light filled building, buzzing with activity,  As well as housing those 65,000 poetry books published in the last two decades, it offers work space, readings, art exhibitions, classes, films and even a Children’s  Room for events and parties.

Poets House, founded in 1985 by poet Stanley Kunitz and poetry advocate Elizabeth Kray has become “a national library and literary center that invites poets and the public to step into the living tradition of poetry.” It has the largest poetry collection available to the public in open stacks and welcomes chapbooks, literary journals and multimedia.
Aspirational poets can come there to write, use reference materials, photocopying equipment or attend a workshop. 

Everyone is invited to read, listen to tapes, watch videos, view art exhibits or attend a poetry reading. The professional staff is there Tuesday  through Saturday to help keep poetry alive and well.

Bill Murray, the well known comedian is also a poet and supporter of the non-profit Poets House.  He gives a yearly benefit reading to help support all of the free programs Poets House offers to the public. Far from being dusty and stagnant, Poets House is a well spring that nurtures and celebrates the vital pulse of poetry.