National Poetry Month 2023

Come celebrate National Poetry Month throughout the month of April! As a literary genre, poetry lends expression of ideas through form, rhyme and rhythm. We find all forms of emotion in poetry whether it’s joy, loss, love, fear or hope. For generations, we’ve been captivated by the verse of the likes of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante and Whitman. In more recent times, we've fallen in love with the works of Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde and Amanda Gorman.

We have a slate of programs at San Mateo County Libraries to celebrate poets past and present!

Poetry as Curiosity: Off the Page and Into the World – Wednesday, April 12 at 6:00 PM – Virtual for Adults

Join us for a virtual poetry panel with Kanika Agrawal, Mia Ayumi Halhotra, Jhani Randhawa and Dior J. Stephens. If you are curious about how writers find their voices and how words find their way onto a page, this event is for you. Each panelist will share their own writing or general thoughts on “curiosities,” whether it be a piece of their own work or a commentary on how curiosity influences their writing process.

Power Up Afternoons: Magnetic Poetry – Thursday, April 13, at 2:00 PM – Pacifica Sanchez Library for Kids and Teens

Come explore process-based arts and crafts materials to make something beautiful. All you need to bring is your creativity!

Belmont Poetry Contest Celebration – Tuesday, April 25 at 6:30 PM – Belmont Library for All Ages

Belmont's annual poetry contest returns! Join us as we celebrate the winners of this year's Belmont Poetry Contest, hosted with the Belmont Poet Laureate, Monica Korde. Poets of all ages are welcome and encouraged to share their talents with the community

Foster City Poets Reading – Saturday, April 29 at 10:30 AM – Virtual for Adults

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we have invited three Foster City Poets to share their work with the SMCL community! Please join us over Zoom for a reading and Q&A.

Take A Poem: Poem in Your Pocket Bookmarks
Throughout the month of April, we will celebrate National Poetry Month by providing our library customers with the opportunity to decorate a bookmark or a piece of paper at our art tables. Add a poem on the back using a published poem or one you've written using letters/words from discarded materials. Put them in your pocket and you’ll be ready to surprise someone with a poem and a gift! Share a poem on Social Media using #PoemInYourPocketDay or #PocketPoem and tag us across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @SMCLibraries.

Leave a Poem: Post-It Poetry Prompts
You might also have an opportunity to contribute short, sticky-note sized poems to a post-it poetry display! Some of our amazing San Mateo County Poets Laureate, including Kalamu Chaché (East Palo Alto) and Toni Mirosevich (Pacifica) are generously providing prompts to use as literary inspiration. Let a prompt spark your imagination and let your creativity fly on the mini, sticky page! If you would like to contribute to your local branch's Post-It Poetry display from home, click here, opens a new window!

#SelfLove Community Project
Visit Belmont Library through the month of April to participate in the creation of a community poem. Designed by Belmont's amazing Poet Laureate Monica Korde, this year's National Poetry Month special feature is an interactive installation that encourages everyone in the community to look inwards for love. Promoting self-love, acceptance and self-compassion, the #SelfLoveProject invites you to contribute positive personal statements or messages for others. As a finale to National Poetry Month, Monica will build a community poem using all of the donated words and messages. Join us to see this inspiring community project evolve and be a part of it. Discover yourself, love yourself and celebrate yourself through the gift of words!