Registration now open for Poetry in the Branches National Institute

Contact: Laura Hayes


For Immediate Release

July 31, 2002

Registration now open for Poetry in the Branches National Institute

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and Poets House are now accepting registrations for "Poetry in the Branches National Institute." The training workshop will be held Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6 at Poets House in New York City. The institute is open to all librarians. Before September 1, registration is $290 for ALA members and $390 for non-members. After September 1, registration is $340 for ALA members and $440 for non-members.

Participants in the national institute will find resources for growing poetry in their libraries; spend time looking through the Poets House library of more than 40,000 poetry volumes; experience the wealth of live poetry events that New York City has to offer; hear readings by award-winning poets; network and share ideas with colleagues; participate in writing workshops; and leave the weekend with a practical poetry plan for their libraries and nuts-and-bolts information to help make those plans a reality.

Topics covered in the institute include programming for young adult and adult audiences; community outreach through poetry; poetry on a shoestring budget; leading poetry book discussion groups; how to read a poem; publicity and promotion; community partnerships; finding literary resources in your community; roundtable discussions on what's worked in libraries across the country; collection development; display; and evaluation.

The program features sessions with award-winning poets, Edward Hirsch, Dave Johnson, Veronica Golos and Patricia Smith. Hirsch is the author of five books of poetry, including "Earthly Measures" and "On Love," as well as the critical work, "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry." He has been the recipient of many awards including the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Johnson is the author of a book of poems entitled "Marble Shoot," and the plays "A Sister, A Cousin, An Aunt" and "Baptized to the Bone." He has taught in the Poetry in the Branches program, as well as at the New School, Cooper Union, Columbia, and Teachers & Writers. Johnson is now teaching creative writing at Yale University.

Golos is a Poet-in-Residence at New York's 14th St. Y, where she teaches workshops and is curator of the WhY Women/WhY Words poetry series. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, and she has completed a full-length poetry book, "A Bell Buried Deep." Smith is an award-winning poet, playwright, journalist, and performer. Her poetry volumes include "Close to Death; Big Towns, Big Talk," which won the Carl Sandburg Award; and "Life According to Motown." Smith is a columnist for
Ms. Magazine and teaches at the NYC Writers Voice, the Sol Goldman YMCA and the Cave Canem retreat for African-American writers.

Training sessions also will feature librarians who have worked extensively with poetry in their libraries. These librarians include Pat Burn, Upper School librarian at the International School of Luxembourg; Kay Cassell, associate director of programs and services at the New York Public Library; Marsha Spyros, adult services coordinator at the New York Public Library; Gwen Taylor-Davis, senior adult librarian at the 96th St. Regional Branch of the New York Public Library; and Deb Robertson, director of the ALA Public Programs Office.

Poetry in the Branches (PITB) is an award-winning program that has proven its ability to develop new audiences for poetry and increase poetry circulation. It utilizes an integrated, multi-layered approach to collection development, display, librarian training, and adult and young adult programming, creating a complete poetry environment in libraries. The model can be adapted to fit any size library system or budget, and to engage any patron base, from young people to immigrant populations to busy adults. Over the life of the program, PITB has caused poetry circulation to triple in some branches, and to exceed popular categories like cooking and computers in others.

To register for the national institute or for more information, please contact Jen Abrams, Poetry in the Branches coordinator, at (212) 431-7920 ext. 13 or Additional information also is available at or Funding for the institute is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to foster cultural programming as an integral part of library service in all types of libraries. Established in 1990, the office helps thousands of libraries nationwide develop and host programs that encourage dialogue among community members and works to establish libraries as cultural centers in their communities.

Poets House was founded in 1985 by the U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz and the late Elizabeth Kray to provide something they felt was lacking in American cultural life: a
place for poetry - library, meeting place, locus of discussion, research, writing and inspiration. As a 40,000-volume poetry library and literary center, Poets House fosters interaction by building and creating spaces for poetry where people and poetry comfortably come together.