At the Library

Everyone loves poetry, even if they are not a fan of the traditional poems like Shakespeare or T.S. Eliot. Poetry has moved from an art form based on meter and rhymes, restricted by stiff guidelines which have survived through the ages, to something more fluid and spontaneous. Free verse is incredibly popular as are concrete poems?words that form both a poem and an image on the paper. Readers and writers may enjoy the classical poets like Whitman or they may prefer modern poets like Rupi Kaur. Ellen Hopkin?s young adult books such as Crank and Impulse are all told in verse. And most music has some form of poetry and reliance on rhyme and rhythm that nearly everyone can identify.

So what does that have to do with the Washington Public Library?

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, young adults are invited to participate in a poetry slam. This is a chance to stand in front of their peers in a relaxed setting and speak their mind in verse.

But what is a poetry slam? And how is it different from reciting a poem?

Most poetry found in anthologies is designed in order to be read a specific way. I?ve experienced a number of occasions where people have told me, after reading a poem aloud, I did it wrong. Because an emphasis is put on the rules of form and meter, this type of poetry doesn?t often perform well. Slam poetry, on the other hand, is specifically written for performance. Rhythm is used to emphasis phrases or emotions and is often changed throughout the piece. And because the poems are heard and not read, the performer is the one who decides the right or wrong way of doing it. It is a performance, after all.

Just like other poems, slam poetry can cover any subject and form. One performer may rant about a conversation they had on a train while another talks about a life-altering experience like it?s a friend/enemy.

In a traditional slam, performers are eliminated each round by a panel of judges based on the success of the poet?s performance.

The Teen?s Poetry Slam?occurring April 13 and only open to young adults?is going to simply be a chance for teens to perform their own original pieces. Eliminations will not occur but audience members will reward their favorite performers with a shower of candy. Poetry is a powerful tool, giving voice to situations and emotions that need to be said but may not be strong enough with only a few words, especially in the teen years.

So in honor of National Poetry Month, write something down. Capture an emotion or thought or conversation that needs to make more of an impact. Whether it?s a traditional form, or something experimental, let loose and try a little poetry this month.

These are the new materials available at the library this week.

Adult Fiction

The Disappeared by C. J. Box

Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

Sweet Vengeance by Fern Michaels

Truth or Dare by Fern Michaels

Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen

A Breath of Hope by Lauraine Snelling

Large Print Fiction

The Disappeared by C. J. Box

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

Adult Nonfiction

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

New Easy

Can Somebody Scratch My Back? by Jory John

Honey by David Ezra Stein