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Friday, April 9, 2010

Want To Hear Another One?

I can't vouch for you but I am enjoying National Poetry Month so far! Up above you will find another of our poetry-reading videos, this time featuring our Director, Sandra Norlin, reading "The Problem," by influential American poet William Carlos Williams.

Williams is the kind of poet many students will explore during their school days and it occurred to me this morning that we have wonderful resources for those pursuits. Both our Youth and Adult reference areas have large, encyclopedic sets of books with biographies of famous poets as well as critical overviews of their works. Knowing how much people like to look for information online these days, the Library can also help, with databases like "Contemporary Authors." Don't get fooled by the word "Contemporary," as you will find poets like Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost, as well as current poets, in this handy online resource. A similar and very useful online source is "Literature Resource Center." "Literature Resource Center" is even more expansive in scope, covering writers from Homer of the ancient Greeks to contemporary African-American poet Rita Dove. It couldn't be easier to use, either - just type in a poet or a poem title and explore the list of articles you receive. (To use library databases from home, type in your DPPL card number after you click the link.)

Yes, of course, there is also Wikipedia, but remember that this community-generated "encyclopedia" can be factually skewed or even downright wrong. It is a fun and easy place to search for basic information about many poets, however.If you've been used to doing all your online research in places like Wikipedia, why not try some of the library's online resources instead? I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to use and how interesting and varied your search results can be. And you don't need to be a student to enjoy these resources! You'll find articles from biographies, critical essays that really help you understand a poem, and current magazine articles that dissect how a poet is making his/her mark on society, culture and the arts. Don't forget to check out our online Poetry Theatre, too, where you can find more than a dozen poems read just for you by our own library staff (yes, including yours truly). Watch a few of these videos and see how poetry can come to life!

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