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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Poem for Des Plaines (and the library)

This Sunday, the library will wrap up Poetry Month with two events—Poetry Play and Poetry Play Celebration. Come by to hear poets read their poems, to make your own poems, and to share the love of rhythm, rhyme, and meter.

Kids will get a chance to meet the acclaimed children's author and poet, Janet Wong. Janet's poems have appeared in many publications and other unexpected places. She has won numerous awards during her career.

To help prepare for the event on Sunday, Janet graciously provided a few examples of several types of poems—an acrostic, haiku, and list poem. Kids will use these poems to help them create their own versions. When our children's librarian, Sara, opened the example list poem, she found an unexpected surprise. Janet had written a poem about Des Plaines and the library:

Click for the full version

What was Sara's response? She told me, "What an honor! Unfortunately, we won’t be serving French fries this Sunday, but it should be a fabulous day in every other regard."

P.S. There a many fine examples of list poems, but perhaps the most famous is Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, a 18th century poet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Library Press Display: Bringing the World's News to You

Are you interested in getting news from other countries or cities across the U.S.? Or looking for foreign perspectives on American issues or to improve your language skills? If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then you'll love Library Press Display.

Library Press Display is a great resource for current newspapers from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as Chicago and other cities in the U.S.. The collection includes 1,200 titles in 48 languages with a 60-day backfile.

You can choose to have articles read to you or translated. All newspapers come to you in their original format, in full color with photos and pages you can turn or enlarge. Classified ads and advertisements are included.

The 3rd floor kiosk for accessing Library Press Display

You can access Library Press Display from home with a DPPL library card or in the library at our dedicated press display terminal on the 3rd floor near the current newspapers. It is also available from any public access computer in the library. It’s like having the actual newspaper in your hands.

Can I access this resource from home?

Yes, you can!

With a valid Des Plaines Public Library, the link above will take you right to the online resource.

Don't have a library card? Stop by sometime and get one. Any Des Plaines resident can apply.

Friday, April 6, 2012

National Poetry Month

It's April and that means that it's National Poetry Month, which offers a good excuse to read and share poems that we enjoy. One of my favorite poems is "Frost at Midnight" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Coleridge is best known as one half of the dynamic duo that wrote Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, that kicked off the Romantic movement (in England at least). "Frost at Midnight" is often referred to as a "conversational poem." And, by 19th century standards, it's very talky.

In the poem, the speaker (ie Coleridge) is sitting alone at midnight. Everyone is asleep and he's holding a baby in his arms.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
This is a very quiet and reflective poem. Coleridge is trying to capture a mood and his passing thoughts in this moment. The speaker reflects on his past, but also has high hopes for his child's future.
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes!
I appreciate how personal and intimate the poem is. We experience someone working through their fears and concerns. The poem doesn't just offer up canned wisdom or pithy statements. When poetry is good, this is what it does best--makes us think and reflect both on the poem, but also on ourselves.

What does good poetry do, in your opinion? I'd love to know!

Don't forget about the...

Poetry Scavenger Hunt

Bring your kids to the second floor and take part in the Poetry Scavenger Hunt. Find the poems and win prizes!