Celebrating National Poetry Month this April

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, opens a new window

Well, we here at Palo Alto City Library don’t know what poet T. S. Eliot was talking about, because we will spend April celebrating National Poetry Month! Here are a few ways the Academy of American Poets suggest celebrating:

Headliner Poets at Rinconada Library

WORK — Tshaka Menelik Imhotep Campbell
Photo: tshakacampbellpoet.com

April 1: Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Tshaka Campbell

Rinconada Library | 2:30 p.m. in the Embarcadero Room

Start the month off right by attending a reading by Santa Clara County’s Poet Laureate, Tshaka Menelik Imhotep Campbell, opens a new window. Aside from being a member of the Nuyorican national poetry slam team and the Da Poetry Lounge slam team, opens a new window, Tshaka earned two Grand Slam Champion titles in San Francisco and Hollywood. In 2010, he was also honored with the UK Unsigned Artist award in poetry. Tshaka has toured cities in the United States and around the globe, featuring at venues such as the legendary Apollo Theatre and the O2 in London England. Read more about Tshaka Campbell on his website, opens a new window.

Photo: Briana Chazaro

April 8: Poet and EPA City Councilman Antonio López

Rinconada Library | 2:30 p.m. in the Embarcadero Room

The following Saturday, opens a new window, poet and East Palo Alto City Councilman Antonio López will read from his book Gentefication, opens a new window and other works. Antonio López grew up in East Palo Alto and attended elementary and middle school in the Ravenswood City School District, Menlo School, Duke University, Rutgers University Newark and the University of Oxford. Elected to East Palo Alto's City Council in 2020, López is pursuing a doctoral degree at Stanford University. He is the 2019 winner of the Levi Prize, opens a new window. Read more about Antonio López on his website, Barrioscribe, opens a new window.

Movies About Poets or Poetry 

Before Night Falls: Javier Bardem plays Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, from his childhood in Cuba to his death in New York City. His writings and homosexuality get him in trouble with Castro's Cuba and he spends two years in prison before leaving for the United States. 

Howl: Starring Palo Alto’s own James Franco as poet Arthur Ginsberg during the San Francisco beat poet’s 1957 obscenity trial. 

Il postino: The postman, Mario, enlists the aid of the poet Pablo Neruda to conquer the heart of the beautiful Beatrice. 

A Poet's Guide to Britain: Screenwriter Owen Sheers explores six works of poetry about the British landscape.

A Quiet Passion: Cynthia Nixon brings American poet Emily Dickinson to life.

Learn more about poetry at National Academy of Poetry., opens a new window Find poetry books in the Nonfiction 811 section, opens a new window of the library. And be sure to come to our poetry readings!