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Poetry Foundation Library
Browse the library's collection of over 30,000 volumes.

Library Hours

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 11 AM - 4 PM

Thursday: 11 AM - 8 PM

Closed June 18

Please Note

Guest Requirements:

Guests who wish to enter the Poetry Foundation building will be required to follow the policies outlined in our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines.

Shelf Life

  • Illustration of colorful figures using pencils and pens to make lines on notebook paper. The figures float on books on a yellow background.

    Library Book Picks

    Our library collection includes chapbooks, art books, poetry for young people, and more. See our librarians' picks from our 30,000 volumes.

  • Book Pick
    Picked By Stefania Gomez June 2022

    “Odessa is everywhere,” writes Ukrainian-American poet Ilya Kaminksky in his astonishing debut, Dancing in Odessa (2004, Tupelo Press). You may know him...

Learning Activities

  • Learning Prompt
    By Stefania Gomez April 13, 2020

    For this activity, you will need a friend or an adult, some paper and a pencil. Out loud, with help if you...

  • Video
    From Poetry Explorers

    Today we’ll learn how to make a kaleidoscope and think about how a kaleidoscope might be like a poem.

About the Library

The Poetry Foundation Library is the Midwest’s only library dedicated to poetry. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library hosts interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in people of all ages.

The Collection

The origins of the library are in the working collection of Poetry magazine. Titles originally sent to the magazine for review or acquired for editorial needs now comprise a distinctive collection of the poetry of the past century.

The library’s current collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, and to include representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras. The collection contains individual author monographs, anthologies, journals, rare and limited editions, broadsides, chapbooks, criticism, and prose works by poets. Audio archives include restored recordings of poets, like Gwendolyn Brooks and Czeslaw Milosz, reading their own work.

Search the collection »

Field Trips

The Poetry Foundation Library is available for virtual field trips, and to support teachers, students, and parents through remote learning. For assistance with lesson plans and writing prompts, or to schedule a field trip, please email [email protected].


To contact the librarian, please email [email protected] or call 312.799.8057