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Library of Congress Unveils Recorded Poetry Archive

by on April 22, 2015

It is hard to believe that we are already four months in to 2015. Spring is in the air, and what better way to mark the passing of winter than reading poetry? To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Library of Congress unveiled its Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature on April 15, 2015.[1] Almost 2,000 audio recordings, some dating back to 1943, are available for free on the site. Poetry is not the only subject covered in the collection, as some of the audio also contains authors giving lectures, interviews, or other talks. A few of the writers who are included in the collection are Kurt Vonnegut, William Styron, Adrienne Rich, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, and Mario Vargas Llosa.[2] The website is very easy to navigate, and listening to the audio files is simple—all it takes is one click. Currently the archive contains 73 web pages and 50 audio recordings, with more to be added later.[3] The site even links to letters written by the authors themselves. The Library of Congress did a fantastic job making these items available on the web, as it will bring people closer to this literary art.

So how can librarians use this wonderful tool? Reference librarians can refer poetry lovers of all ages to the site for school projects or just for pleasure reading. This is an especially great resource for teens and college students, as it will provide insight into the authors’ lives, and give deeper context to the poems they may be studying. It can also be great for teachers who are beginning to introduce their students to poetry, as they can use the audio files in the classroom. Even those who are new to poetry can learn more about the genre through the website. Poetry aficionados will appreciate hearing their favorite writers read their works. Lastly, librarians can use the online archive to bolster their poetry month programming. Whether your library will participate in the Poem in Your Pocket program, or create something new, the Archive of Recorded Poetry will help make April a special poetry filled adventure at your library!

Direct link to the Archive: http://www.loc.gov/collections/archive-of-recorded-poetry-and-literature/

Works Cited

[1] Gary Price, “Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature Debuts on Library of Congress Web Site,” LJ InfoDocket, April 15, 2015, http://www.infodocket.com/2015/04/15/an-archive-of-recorded-poetry-and-literature-debuts-on-library-of-congress-web-site/

[2] Archive of Recorded Poetry, Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/poetry/recorded-poetry/

[3] Price, “Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature Debuts on Library of Congress Web Site.”

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