Monday, April 15, 2019

Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 18, 2019

Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day this year!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Create Your Own Blackout Poetry

Chances are you’ve seen it before: a full page of text that looks like the world’s most hard-to-please editor went after it with a thick, black permanent marker, leaving only a smattering of visible words scattered across the page. Or, more simply put, something resembling a heavily-redacted document belonging to the United States government. Sound familiar? It’s called blackout poetry and it’s been popping up with ever-increasing frequency on Instagram and Snapchat, in traditionally-published poetry collections, and even as street art.

The library has pages available for you to create your own blackout poetry. (See photo above.) The New York Times even got in on the action, creating a section of their digital newspaper where readers can create their own blackout poetry from New York Times articles, just by clicking.

Friday, April 5, 2019

A Delicious Start to National Poetry Month

Emily Dickinson wrote many poems in the kitchen—often on the backs of labels, recipes and other papers, and these reveal that the kitchen “was a space of creative ferment for her, and that the writing of poetry mixed in her life with the making of delicate treats.” After all, what better way to fill the long interval between putting something good in the oven and getting to eat it?

...whenever Dickinson saw children playing in her family gardens, “she headed for the pantry, filled a basket with cookies or slices of cake—often gingerbread—carried it upstairs to a window in the rear of the house (so their mothers wouldn’t see), and attached the basket to a rope to slowly lower it to the “storm-tossed, starving pirates” or the “lost, roaming circus performers” eagerly waiting below.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Journey to "Young Adult" Literature

Young adult literature, as we know it today, has been an exercise in evolution consonant with the evolution of the concept of the young adult itself. It hinges on the obvious fact that there could not be a young adult literature until there were “young adults,” something that didn’t happen until the late 1930s and early 1940s, when there emerged an American youth culture populated by kids newly called “teenagers.”

The word first appeared in print in the September 1941 issue of the magazine Popular Science Monthly. In earlier times, there had been—generally speaking—only two population segments in America: adults and children (the latter becoming adults when they entered the workforce, sometimes at as young as age 10). But in the 1930s and 1940s, driven by a drying-up of the job market during the Great Depression, record numbers of adolescents started attending high school. In 1939, 75 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds were enrolled in high school. A decade earlier only 50 percent had been.

It wasn’t until 1970—three years after the formative publications of The Outsiders and The Contender—that a newly emergent, serious young adult literature was recognized. For the first time ever, an actual YA novel, written specifically for readers in that new, in-between segment of the population—Barbara Wersba’s Run Softly, Go Fast, about a teenage boy’s love-hate relationship with his father—was first admitted to the list.
Art courtesy of Jane Mount/