April is National Poetry Month, and the Bellingham Public Library has hundreds of books and films filled with great poetry for all ages. Along with the written word, art and photography capture the beauty and poetry of the natural world and human imagination. Creative expression in all forms is something to celebrate and enjoy.
Poetry Books for Adults
From books of poetry about love, to books of poetry about war and all that lies in between, the Bellingham Public Library has something for everyone.
To start your reading adventure, simply type “poetry” into the keyword search bar, then use the catalog’s “advance search” feature to narrow down your specific needs, and to also find e-books, e-audiobooks, and audiobook CDs.
Library Staff Recommends:
The Cool School edited by Glenn O’Brien
“America has always been a patchwork of rebellious voices, crying out to be themselves. The voices from the margins blend together, defying definitions of form and expectations of propriety. The cool kids, the rebels, the disaffected, and the beautifully hip all share space in this collection of poetry and more. – Rob, Public Services Librarian
Poetry Books for Teens
Check out this great list of YA books in verse available as books, ebooks, and eaudiobooks!
Library Staff Recommends:
Celebrate National Poetry Month by checking out one of the many books in verse on audio!
“I didn’t know how much I could love a book in verse until I listened to “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo. Read by the author, who is also a spoken word poet, this story of Xiomara, a young black woman finding her voice in a world trying to silence her, is the most beautiful audiobook I’ve listened to. I didn’t even realize “Blood Water Paint” by Joy McCullough, narrated by Xe Sands, was in verse when I first listened to it. A beautifully lyrical and heartbreaking fictional account of the 17th century artist Atemisia Gentileschi, this book flowed into a vivid story of pain and perseverance. Both of these books show how novels in verse take on a life of their own when the poetry is spoken aloud.” – Jennifer, Teen Services Librarian
“I just finished listening to a YA historical fiction novel in verse entitled “African Town” by Irene Latham and Charles Waters and it was AMAZING! Based on historical events set between 1859 and 1901, the book uses multiple voices to chronicle the last group of Africans stolen from their homes and (illegally) shipped to Alabama and sold into slavery. Each voice, including that of the ship used to transport the human cargo, is unique in poetry form, and narrated by different actors. It’s a great introduction to the hidden-history of these enslaved people, their experiences, and their creation of a community, African Town, which still exists today as Africatown, Alabama.” – Jennifer, Teen Services Librarian
Poetry Books for Children
Library Staff Recommends:
Love, Love by Victoria Chang
“Frances Chin is a Chinese American girl who is dealing with bullying, parents who are too busy and don’t quite understand her, and figuring out her sister’s mysterious illness. Once I started reading this, I couldn’t put it down. The author does a beautiful job of immersing you into a story written in verse that is loosely based on her own life.” – Bernice, Children’s Services Librarian
Recommended for age 9 and up
What Are Little Girls Made Of? by Jeanne Willis
“These reworkings of popular nursery rhymes with a feminist twist will delight readers of all ages. The text is brilliantly funny and the illustrations are clever and charming.” – Mandee, Children’s Specialist
Recommended for ages 2 and up
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
“This compelling story, written in verse, shines a warm, compassionate light on the challenging journey of 12-year-old Jude, separated from family in Syria and sent with her mother to live in the U.S. Painful adjustments and wonderous surprises make this a life-affirming story of honoring and creating a sense of home.” – Julie, Children’s Specialist
Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Films and Documentaries Featuring Stories of Poetry
Browse the shelves or search the catalog to find films and documentaries on DVD featuring poets and poetry! To find eFilms and eDocumentaries, use your library card to sign up with Kanopy, the Library’s source for free online videos. Access them on your computer, mobile device or TV.
Essence of Bellingham Photography Contest
The Essence of Bellingham Photography Contest is an annual photography competition sponsored by the City of Bellingham and Whatcom Museum to “capture the ‘essence’ of living, working or playing in Bellingham.”
This year’s submissions are due by May 1st, but you can enjoy viewing previous years’ winners anytime by visiting the gallery on the City’s website!
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest
“Founded in 2006, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is a free annual event held each spring and open to Whatcom County, Washington, residents of all ages and all levels of experience. From each year’s submissions, two judges, respected Washington poets, select 25 winning poems. Walk Award poems are displayed for a year on the Sue Boynton Poetry Walk in front of the Bellingham Public Library (one of a growing number of permanent poetry installations in the U.S.); beautiful placards of both Walk and Merit Award poems are displayed for a year inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses that serve routes throughout the county. Winning poets are invited to read at a public awards ceremony in May.” – from the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest website
A Forest of Words:
Whatcom County Teen Poetry Anthology
A Forest of Words is a teen poetry book published annually by Teen Services of the Whatcom County Library System. Area teens are invited to submit up to two of their original poems from January 1st through March 15th of each year. A panel of library staff and teens select poems based on originality, creativity, and craft. The Bellingham Public Library has copies of each year’s anthology available for you to check out!