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National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. 

Looking for ideas on what to read? Check out these recommendations for adults, teens and children selected by Milwaukee Public Library librarians.


Teen Poetry Contest

Milwaukee youth ages 13-18 are encouraged to submit an original poem online between March 15 and April 19, 2024. Prizes will be awarded to the top poem in three age categories: 13-14, 15-16, 17-18. Visit to learn more and apply online. 

Teen Poetry Fest

Saturday, April 27, 2-4 p.m.
Mitchell Street Branch 

Join us for a celebration of poetry with an Open Mic hosted by Brit Nicole, the chance to record your work in the Northwestern Mutual Foundation Studio M Makerspace Sound Booth, decorate a journal, create Black Out Poetry buttons -and more! Teen Poetry Contest winners will be announced at the Teen Poetry Fest. Enjoy coffee from Ay! Chihuahua and light refreshments.

Young Adult Book Club

Monday, April 1, 4:40-5:30 p.m.
Tippecanoe Branch

Join us this Poetry Month for a Young Adult Book Discussion and snacks. In a safe space where all opinions matter, we will respectively listen to our peers talk about their favorite poems or authors. What is the best poetry you have ever read? Have you read Shel Silverstein, Amanda Gorman, or Rupi Kaur? We want to hear about the poetry that you love. 

Picture a Poem

Wednesday, April 3, 4-5 pm
Milwaukee Central Library

Interested in writing poetry but not sure how to get started?  Join us to find inspiration from pictures and create your own poem, or create a piece of art to pair with a poem you’ve written!

Open Mic Poetry with local poet Kavon Cortez Jones

Saturday, April 6, 12-3 p.m.
East Branch

For the first hour gather, visit, and write. Then Kavon Cortez Jones will host an open mic event. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, April 27, 12:30-4 p.m.
Center Street Branch

Visit with others, enjoy light refreshments, and experience an open mic portion of the afternoon hosted by Kavon Cortez Jones.

Drop-In/Button Up

Tuesday, April 9, 4-6 p.m.
Capitol Branch

Drop on into our monthly button-making gathering. Each month, we will browse books from the Capitol book collection and create little circles of art that you can wear. April's theme is Poetry Pins.

YA Café

Wednesday, April 10, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Center Street Branch

The YA Café provides a space for teens and tweens to congregate and celebrate in the Community Room at Center Street.  Talk, hang out, play games, have snacks, and explore creativity with crafts, with a new theme every month! April is National Poetry Month, and the YA Café will feature DIY magnetic poetry, along with snacks and games.

A Party for Langston

Saturday, April 13, 1-2 p.m.
Washington Park Branch

A celebration of a book about a celebration about a poet! Join us for a National Poetry Month event celebrating Jason Reynold's picture book debut: There Was a Party for Langston. The party will launch with a story time at noon, followed by activities to celebrate Langston Hughes and his long legacy!

Blackout Poetry

Give a book a second chance by turning pages into poems with blackout poetry.

Drop-in during April
Capitol Branch

Wednesday, April 17
4-5 p.m.
Atkinson Branch

Monday, April 22
4-5 p.m.
Good Hope Branch


Haiku are short poems of seventeen syllables in three lines of five, seven, and five. Learn how to write your own creative haikus.

Tuesday, April 9
3:30-5 pm
Zablocki Branch

Monday, April 15
5-6 pm
Villard Square Branch

Open a Book, Open a World

Tuesday, April 23, 5-6 p.m.
Capitol Branch

Every time you open a book, you open a world of possibility. Create your own project inspired by a different book topic each month. April's theme is Poetry Rocks.