Library News

By: Elizabeth Cate
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 24, 2015

Spark an Interest in Poetry during National Poetry Month

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States recognize poetry’s vital place in American culture. Whether you enjoy reading poetry, are intrigued by the lives of poets, or are a poet yourself, we invite you to visit Sedona Public Library and explore the myriad ways that poetry can enrich your life.

If you are like many avid readers who appreciate all types of writing but can’t seem to get enthusiastic about poetry, try creating a context for the genre by first reading about a poet’s experiences. Two new memoirs provide a perfect opportunity to pair a poet’s background with their works.

In The Light of the World, poet Elizabeth Alexander recalls her colorful life with her beloved artist husband, who died unexpectedly of heart failure. Alexander is best known for her poem “Praise Song for the Day,” which she presented at President Obama’s first inauguration. Short and accessible, this poem is available on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

Another recent autobiography by a poet, Ordinary Light, is an account of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith’s journey from an orderly, middle-class childhood to an education at Harvard, where she was able to discover her true identity. You can also check out Smith’s acclaimed collection, Life on Mars, which received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Poet Jane Hirshfield has simultaneously published a well-received poetry book, The Beauty, and an essay collection about the value of poetry, entitled Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Both books are available through the Yavapai Library Network and are reviewed in the April issue of “BookPage,” a free publication you can pick up at the Library or access online at

Inspired to create a poem of your own? Local poets interested in sharing their works can attend the Sedona Writers Salon, hosted by author Gary Every on the first and third Tuesday of each month, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Library. Attendees read their works and offer constructive criticism to each other. Every Salon features a writing exercise, among other activities, and first-time authors have a great opportunity to receive considerate criticism. It’s also a forum for authors to exchange information and ideas about workshops, and discuss the works of favorite authors.

Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The land on which our beautiful library sits was donated, and the library building was constructed with private funds and is entirely debt-free. Donations and grants allow us to continue to offer free and innovative services to residents and visitors. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to: Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, AZ 86336.

Sedona Public Library is located at 3250 White Bear Road in West Sedona. Library hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sedona Public Library in the Village is located at 7000 Highway 179, Suite D-100, in the courtyard of Tequa Plaza. Library hours in the Village are Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You may call the main Library at 928.282.7714 and SPL-V at 928.284.1603 for more information about exhibits and services that we offer.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
Elizabeth Cate is Collection Development Librarian of the Sedona Public Library.