By Evan Frankl, Reference Librarian, Fordham Westchester Campus

Do you remember studying poetry in High School? Loved it? Hated it? Vaguely remember “Poem-in-Your-Pocket” Day? Here is your chance to live, or re-live poetry, as the Academy of American Poets presents National Poetry Month in April (now in its 24th year). fsfsfs

National Poetry Month was founded in April 1996 with the goal of inspiring interest in poetry, highlighting poets and their achievements, and encouraging support for the art of poetry on a widespread scale. For current or aspiring teachers, the Academy offers a great deal of resources for educators, especially at the secondary level.

Each year, the Academy of American Poets has a national student contest to select the official annual poster. To see how art has changed along with poetry in the early 21st century, you can visit the online gallery of Annual Posters.

A tree with yellow leaves and red berries. It reads, "National Poetry Month April 2020" cross the top in red and orange letters. Logos of various organizations are at the bottom.
The official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the artwork of Samantha Aikman, winner of this year’s National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students.
Image credit: Academy of American Poets.

Poetry at Fordham University

One cannot talk about Fordham University and poetry without considering one of America’s most famous poets, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe lived in what was then known as Fordham Village from 1846 until his death in 1849. He was known to be a frequent visitor to the university, which at that time was still named St. John’s College.

A small white house with a green, slightly overgrown lawn.
Poe Cottage, now a museum located near Rose Hill Campus.
Image source: Bronx Historical Society

Poe’s cottage was preserved (although it was moved for the creation of the Grand Concourse in the early 20th century) and is now a museum, jointly managed by the Bronx Historical Society, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Historic House Trust of New York City. This gem of 19th century rural New York is located in the aptly named Poe Park, only a half-mile walk from the Rose Hill campus.

A map showing the route to talk from Fordham University to the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage.
Poe Cottage is just a short walk from Fordham’s Walsh Library. Image source: Google Maps (accessed March 19, 2020)

It should not be surprising that there are notable poets among Fordham Alumni. Two of these award-winning American poets from the late 20th century are Richard Foerster (Fordham College, 1971) and Charles Martin (Fordham College). We hold several of their books in our collection, which you can find by searching the library catalog using the “Author” field.

A room with tall bookshelves, full of books, against the wall.
Poetry Room located in Walsh Library, Room 314.

The Fordham University Press has been active in promoting poetry at the academic level, with almost 50 volumes of poetry in print. Many of these volumes can also be found at the libraries. Did you know that there is even a dedicated Poetry Room within Walsh Library? Not all of our poetry books are there, but it’s a great place to get started on your poetic journey (plus, you can reserve it as a group study room). Learn more about the Poetry Room.

Under the subject of “poetry,” the Fordham University Library catalog has over 34,000 entries! More than 16,000 of these titles are available as e-books, so you can start reading anytime. Find your language, find your style, find your inner voice — experience the craft of putting feeling and passion into a minimum of words and spaces. Enjoy National Poetry Month!

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