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​Just Read: Poetry

Just Read is a come-as-you-are, read-what-you-like online book club and so much more!

This monthly online book club is genre or theme based. Each month, a new genre or theme will be announced and your participation will be on your own and through social media.

Whether you are already an avid reader or want to be, whether you are looking for recommendations or know what you like, whether you are reading for you or reading to someone, Phoenix Public Library is here to help with a little inspiration.

Read what you like and be accountable to yourself.   

Each month, we will announce a book club genre or theme on our website. Read what you like within this genre or theme. Participate throughout the month by posting on social media, tagging Phoenix Public Library and #justreadppl to share, discuss and recommend your book choice.  Or, follow along on your own without posting on social media – it's all good! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube or visit our website for more about the Just Read online book club.

April's theme is Poetry

Poetry exists in many forms. One or more of those forms is for you. 

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we encourage you to explore poetry! If you are not currently a poetry lover, give it a whirl. If you are a fan of poetry, take this time to expand beyond your favorite poets or types of poetry or to simply indulge in your preferred mode of verse. Don’t know where to start? Revisit a favorite childhood poem or poet. Ask a poetry reader who they’d recommend. Dive right in to a fresh take on language. 

See below for poetry resources you can access online with your Phoenix Public Library card. 

Need a library card? Sign up for an eCard.


Still of the film Slam NationSlam Nation 

A nonfiction narrative that takes you on a trip through the Slam Poetry phenomenon, following New York City's novice team on its journey to join over 120 spoken word artists on 27 city teams at the National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon. Here, SlamNation discovers not only the raw energy and sheer talent of some of the greatest performance poets in the country, but a good old fashioned tale of heroes and villains amidst the dramatic tension of fiery competition.

Access Slam Nation on Kanopy.

Still of the film Poetry in MotionPoetry in Motion

Called the "Woodstock of Poetry" by American Film, and "Dazzling" by the Los Angeles Times, Poetry in Motion is an unprecedented anthology of twenty-four leading North American poets who sing, chant, anything but "read" their work. The result is a celebration of poetry's ancient oral tradition. And an energetic demonstration that verse is alive and thriving in the media-blitzed age.

Access Poetry in Motion on Kanopy.

Still from the film Gang of Souls: A Generation of Beat PoetsGang of Souls: A Generation of Beat Poets

This engaging documentary explores the insights and influences of the American Beat Poets. The film conveys their consciousness and sensibility through candid interviews with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Diane Di Prima, among others.

Access Gang of Souls: A Generation of Beat Poets on Kanopy.

Still of the film Visiones: Latino Art & CultureVisiones: Latino Art & Culture, Episode 5: The Taco Shop Poets

Episode five highlights the Taco Shop Poets of Southern California, early tent theater of the Southwest called Carpas, and performance art in San Francisco. Performance artists covered include Guillermo Gomez-Pena, performance troupe ASCO, and the performance art pioneers Royal Chicano Airforce. The Taco Shop Poets, a group of Chicano poets living in San Diego, blend the spoken word with lively beats. The poets strive to take their social and political poetry to where people congregate at the Taco Shops.

Access Visiones: Latino Art & Culture, Episode 5: The Taco Shop Poets on Kanopy.

Still of the film Forms of Literature: PoetryForms of Literature: Poetry

Students are introduced to the basic poetic techniques and the endless variety of poetic forms and subjects poets have used over the centuries. The enormous possibilities of poetic expression are explored through works by cummings, Shakespeare, Edward Lear, Wordsworth, Millay, Donne, Corso, Dorothy Parker, Homer, Keats, Roethke, Hart Crane, Pound, Yeats, Coleridge and Pablo Neruda. Students eventually examine a Shakepearean sonnet and analyze successive drafts of poems by Dylan Thomas, Dickinson, and Williams.

Access Forms of Literature: Poetry on Kanopy.

​Online Programs

Photo of poet & critic Hanif Abdurraqib

In lieu of the in-person Shop Talk on Hanif Abdurraqib that was to be held on Tuesday, March 24 and his readings on March 25 (Phoenix) and March 26 (Tucson), please enjoy this overview of Abdurraqib’s work. Here you will find biographical information, links to poems and interviews, and writing prompts for you to explore.

Rosemarie Dombrowski portrait in front of typewritersRosemarie Dombrowski

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the City of Phoenix Poet Laureate, the founder of Rinky Dink Press, a poetry editor at Four Chambers Press, and the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series, which is about to enter its tenth year. She has been nominated for several poetry-related awards and her work has appeared in numerous publications.

​Online Class

Creative Writing

Universal Class's Creative Writing 101 is an attempt to capture what cannot be held in hand or thought--the elusive riddle of human creativity as we find it in our writing. Here we look at various forms and genres (books, dramas and plays, poetry, essays, film-writing, stories in general, etc.) as they relate to the creative impulse.

Poetry Writing 101

This poetry course from Universal Class is created for the lover of poetry who wants to learn how to appreciate the art even more. It is also for student poets who want to improve their craft. This course is thorough in teaching all students everything they need to know about reading, interpreting, and writing poetry. This course is a must-take for any budding poet out there who wants to hone their skills and learn to write high quality, great poetry that others will appreciate.


The Writer magazine coverThe Writer

Since 1887 The Writer has provided the motivation, writing techniques, expert tips and compelling author insights that turn good writing into great writing. We’ll help you become a better writer, find markets for your work, understand the business of writing, follow industry news and trends, reach your goals, and more!

Access The Writer on RBdigital.

Magazine cover for Bookforum


For more than twenty years, Bookforum has reviewed the best new books and published daring and incisive essays on current affairs, fiction, and the arts.

Access Bookforum on Flipster.

Magazine cover of Poets & WritersPoets & Writers Magazine

For more than twenty years, Poets & Writers Magazine has been a trusted companion to writers who take their vocation seriously. Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on the literary life, practical guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversation among fellow professionals.

Access Poets & Writers Magazine on RBdigital.

Magazine cover of Afro Poetry TimesAfro Poetry Times

A monthly magazine dedicated at Afro poetry and the poets who create the magic.

Access Afro Poetry Times on PressReader.

​Online Articles

"Her Accomplishment: Poetry, Fiction, Criticism: Dorothy Parker"

Examination of the poems by Dorothy Parker

"Poetry, Journals, and Myth: Ellen Gilchrist"

Examination of the poems by Ellen Gilchrist

"Beware the Man: Early Poetry of Stevie Smith"

Examination of the poems by Stevie Smith

​eBooks for Kids

Check out these great poetry eBooks for kids on TumbleBook Library, FREE with your Phoenix Public Library card. 

Cat Named HaikuA Cat Named Haiku 
by Mark Poulton

Chicken ScratchesChicken Scratches 
by George Shannon and Lynn Brunelle

Monster LunchMonster Lunch
by Pat Skene

Ook the BookOok the Book
by Lissa Rovetch

Rhyme StonesRhyme Stones
by Pat Skene

What a Hippopota-mess!What a Hippopota-mess!
by Pat Skene

Wishing BoneWishing Bone
by Stephen Mitchell

​Staff Picks

Photo of staff member Danielle

Danielle recommends: 

The Book of Disquiet
by Fernando Pessoa

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa has always been a favorite of mine (especially this edition, translated by Zenith). It was published after the poet's death from collected pieces found in an envelope marked with the title. I always find something new, something interesting every time I pick up this existential diary of this modernist poet and his many heteronyms. 

Photo of staff member AlexAlex recommends:

S O S: Poems 1961-2013
by Amiri Baraka

A legend! What Amiri Baraka did with language -- with poetry -- will continue to be studied and marveled at for lifetimes to come. This is a wonderful book that covers decades of his incredible work.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
by Sonia Sanchez

This renowned poet/activist/artist describes herself as, "a woman with razor blades between her teeth," which is reason enough to watch her documentary on Kanopy.

"Howl" by Allen Ginsburg from
The Allen Ginsburg Poetry Collection

The famous poem that still hits you in gut even after 60+ years since its release. Carve out a half hour to hear it read by the author, or if you're feeling ambitious, take an entire lifetime to read, re-read, and attempt to analyze all its meanings. You can find this poem and others in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Collection. Available as an audiobook on OverDrive or hoopla. 

"How I Lived My Life in Tuscon" by Michelle Tea from
The Beautiful: Collected Poems

Michelle Tea creates stories within stories, all interesting to read. One of the most interesting involves Tucson, Arizona in the poem, "How I Lived My Life in Tuscon." Read this poem in The Beautiful: Collected Poems, available as an eBook on hoopla. 

Photo of staff member KarenKaren recommends:

"We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks from
The Poet's Corner

In sparse and terse language Brooks conveys images and even sounds (I always hear snapping fingers when I read this poem) about urban youth's invincibility and fragility at the same time. If you can wait for the eAudio edition, this poem is read by Morgan Freeman, which makes it even better. 

"Sonnet 43" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning from
The Poet's Corner

What can I say? The ultimate love poem. In the audio version, this one is read by Helen Mirren, chills!

by Emily Dickenson

This collection, made available by Project Gutenberg, includes two of my very favorite Dickinson poems: "Because I could not stop for Death" and "Some Keep the Sabbath going to Church." My favorite aspect of poetry is how just a few words can convey such deep and intense meaning and thoughts. Emily Dickinson is the ultimate prototype of the poet who accomplished this in each and every poem she wrote. There are two other series in this collection that can keep you reading for hours. I am sure you will come away with a favorite or two...or twenty!

Photo of staff member JacquiJacqui recommends:

Crazy Brave
by Joy Harjo

Ten Windows
by Jane Hirshfield

Mulitiple titles by Mary Oliver

These three poets connect deeply with the natural world, wonder and the interconnectedness of all life. Joy Harjo, named US Poet Laureate in June 2019, shares a voice often overlooked by society – that of an indigenous woman. Poetry Foundation describes Jane Hirshfield as “working at the intersection of poetry, the sciences, and the crisis of the biosphere.” And the late Mary Oliver’s poems conjure images of hope and humility in times of joy and sorrow. I can’t think of any other poets I would turn to in uncertain times, where the soul requires soothing and the heart requires forward momentum.

​Show us what you're reading!Photo of an open book

​How to participate on social media

Show us what you are reading by posting a photo on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter by tagging Phoenix Public Library and including #justreadppl and we may share your photo to help inspire the reading lists of others! Share book reviews, too! 


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