Happy New Year!

View from the Poetry Office on January 2nd, 2013 — blue skies!

After a long and lovely holiday season, it’s nice to be back in the office with the whole of 2013 ahead of us. And what a year it will be—the Poetry and Literature Center will celebrate 75 years of Consultants and Poets Laureate. We kick off our big year in style, with a reading to honor our new Bobbitt Prize winner Gerald Stern and a reading by our new Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, as part of the Library’s exhibit “The Civil War in America.”

Speaking of the Poet Laureate, there’s a lovely piece on her and her upcoming residency in the Poetry and Literature Center—a first for a Laureate! We are very excited to have her join the staff and work in our Poetry Room, and we’re excited to see what her tenure here brings—she has talked about holding “office hours,” for one, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to the attic.

This spring will also see the launch of our redesigned website, with several new features. First will be our “Interview” section, with an interview of Joshua Beckman conducted by PLC staffer Caitlin Rizzo. This interview will reference the piece Joshua wrote and performed as part of our “Literary Birthdays” event on Walt Whitman last spring—a great way to continue the conversation about one of America’s greatest poets.

We are also excited to launch our “Poetry of America” website, to coincide with the relaunch of the Library’s “Song of America” website. “Poetry of America” will feature essays and recordings examining poetry’s connection to the history and identity of our country, and argue for the art’s powerful role in helping us make sense of our lives. Later on in the year we will add our “Audio Archives” page to the PLC website—this page will serve as a portal to all of the Library’s literary recordings from our seventy-five years and present streaming audio of selected highlights.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that we will soon be adding an important constituency to our ranks: Friends of the Poetry and Literature Center. While the office works hard to expand our programming and support our Laureate, we are eager to connect to a larger community and work together, on behalf of the nation’s oldest federal institution, to further the cause of poetry and literature.

Of course, there is much more coming this year, but I wouldn’t want to give everything away! I hope you have a great year, and I look forward to celebrating our great writers together.

Discoveries I’ve Made

 The following is a guest post by Elizabeth Acevedo, a 2012-2013 intern at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center. I have a confession to make: I have not always been an avid reader of poetry. This tends to be a problem when you’re an intern at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature …

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Poetry at Work

PLC intern Elizabeth Acevedo reads Lucille Clifton’s “won’t you celebrate with me” to Caitlin Rizzo. Since coming to the Poetry and Literature Center as a Junior Fellow, I’ve welcomed many new office traditions: morning coffee, baked goods at least once every two weeks, and watching Rob dance. Though, by far my favorite office tradition is …

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What It Means to Be Here

Today the capital is quiet―Congress is on recess, and many DC residents are on vacation somewhere else. Even the throngs of summer tourists have subsided a bit as the season is winding down. As we at the Poetry and Literature Center prepare for our new Poet Laureate’s opening reading and the season that lies ahead―and …

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Hooray to Poetry Stamps!

The following is a guest post by Caitlin Rizzo, staffer for the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. This year the United States Postal Service unveiled a new series of “forever” stamps commemorating ten of the most enduring American poets. The list includes quite a few Poets Laureate and Consultants in Poetry―from …

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Philip Levine’s Lost Poets

The following is a guest post by Donna Urschel, public affairs specialist in the Library of Congress Office of Communications. This originally appeared in abridged form as an article in the Library of Congress Gazette, Volume 23, No. 19. In the evenings of 1942 on the outskirts of Detroit, a 14-year-old Philip Levine frequently wandered …

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The More the Merrier . . .

Regular Poetry and Literature Center program-goers may notice something different in this year’s calendar: a number of different Library co-sponsors at the bottom of our program listings. Let me explain how this came to be. In my first few months here at the Library of Congress, I discovered a) that there are all sorts of …

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