Library of Congress Launches New Online Poetry Archive, Featuring 75 Years of Classic Poetry Readings

LOC poetry archive frost

Image by Fred Palum­bo, made avail­able by the Library of Con­gress.

Put THIS in your pock­et. The Library of Con­gress is cel­e­brat­ing Nation­al Poet­ry Month by launch­ing its new Archive of Record­ed Poet­ry and Lit­er­a­ture. It debuts with 50 choice poet­ry record­ings, span­ning 75 years of time. In the past, you’d have had to vis­it the library in per­son to lis­ten to these good­ies on reel-to-reel tape. Now you can take them to the gym, plug in as you wash dish­es, post online links for your min­ions to enjoy.

New­ly ensconced Con­sul­tant in Poet­ry Gwen­dolyn Brooks (was there ever a more rec­og­niz­able voice?) pref­aces her read­ing by pledg­ing her inten­tion to reg­is­ter “on the pub­lic con­scious­ness and con­science the gen­er­al­ly neglect­ed rich­ness of ‘minor­i­ty poet­ry.’”

Robert Frost tells Ran­dall Jar­rell of his desire to iden­ti­fy Amer­i­can antiq­ui­ty — to fea­ture in his poet­ry a woodchopper’s hut that looks “as old as Baby­lon.”

Paul Mul­doon shares the sto­ry of how he came to own the eel­skin bag that is the star of “The Brief­case.”

Arm­chair trav­el­ers who still yearn to make that trip to DC in their minds will enjoy Eliz­a­beth Bish­op’s “View of the Capi­tol from the Library of Con­gress” (at the 4:02 mark), read at the Library of Con­gress’s own Coolidge Audi­to­ri­um. Vis­i­tors can also stream read­ings by Ray Brad­bury (below), Mar­garet Atwood, and Kurt Von­negut.

As part of its ongo­ing com­mit­ment to the form, the Library will be adding to the online archive on a month­ly basis. Let every month be Poet­ry Month! You can stream the com­plete col­lec­tion here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Penn Sound: Fan­tas­tic Audio Archive of Mod­ern & Con­tem­po­rary Poets

Stream Clas­sic Poet­ry Read­ings from Harvard’s Rich Audio Archive: From W.H. Auden to Dylan Thomas

Lis­ten to 90 Famous Authors & Celebri­ties Read Great Sto­ries & Poems

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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