Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Building Poetry Audiences in Libraries

By Spyros, Marsha | American Libraries, April 1998 | Go to article overview

Building Poetry Audiences in Libraries


Spyros, Marsha, American Libraries


Organizing a poetry reading in New York City is one of life's easier tasks. You can put up a flag saying "Poets Wanted for Reading" or you can hold a reading and ask how many poets are in the audience. Once you know one poet or do one successful reading, other poets in the audience will approach you.

But getting an audience for a reading and keeping an audience that comes back for other readings is a much more elusive task. If you are fortunate enough to have a well-known poet, or one who teaches dedicated students or has a lot of friends, you may have a respectable audience in place. But what is your responsibility as the organizer and presenter?

At the very least, you or your public relations department, if you are fortunate enough to have one, should do a press release that can be sent to local newspapers. This can be as simple as who, what, where, and when.

Poetry is in the air

Flyers have been an important component for Poetry in the Branches here at the New York Public Library. We designed a prototype at the beginning of the series with Poets House (our cosponsor) and NYPL logos and large, clear print on neon paper. We used the same paper to create signs for the front door. "Poetry is in the air, catch it here," read one that we ran down our long narrow door panel. The scroll concluded with the date, time, and poet's name. The neon paper and large type font made it possible for the sign to be seen even from passing cars.

Another important feature on the back of each flyer was the placement of a poem by the featured poet. When staff members went out onto the busy streets to distribute flyers, they could say, "Would you like a free poem?" You can do the same thing inside the library. Flyers can be placed with poetry book displays as an important component in raising awareness of the presence of your poetry collection.

If you go out to visit your board or attend other community meetings, take flyers and mention your programs. Cultivate a relationship with local merchants and bookstores who may post your flyers in their windows. If you have a local cable station, see if they will announce your programs or let you talk about them.

There are other elements in creating a poetry series that will encourage people to return. One is obvious: serve refreshments. In New York City, sadly, we do not advertise that we do this, however.

For me the most important element is the program itself and how it is hosted and presented. The public likes to be able to identify a face connected with the library. A series is often best curated by one individual who can provide a good ear to balance voices in programs with more than one poet and to provide an appropriate variety or diversity for the series as a whole. When the audience comes to trust your judgment in selecting writers to read, they will be more willing to take the leap that is required to come out to hear someone whose name or work they do not know.

I have also found it useful to use the introduction time as an opportunity to establish a relationship with the audience.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Building Poetry Audiences in Libraries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.