Amarillo Public Library Record-A-Poem Project  

When: Mondays and Tuesdays, 6:30pm

Where: North Branch: 1500 NE 24TH, Amarillo, TX, 79107

The Amarillo Public Library is celebrating National Poetry Month with the Record-A-Poem Project. We talked with Assistant Youth Librarian Shannon Holt to find out more.

Q: April is National Poetry Month.  What is the Amarillo Public Library doing to celebrate? 

Last week we had a special promotion where we allowed patrons to take home a balloon for every book of poetry checked out at North Branch. This was a wonderful success, and many children were excited getting to choose through our selection of poetry books.  We continued the festivities by handing out scrolls of poetry at our circulation desk.

As of April 7th, Amarillo Public Library is offering patrons a chance to be part of our Record-a-Poem Project (inspired by the Poetry Foundation). Recordings of patrons reading poems will be uploaded to a podcast for all who are interested in listening. We hope patrons will enjoy this experience and be inspired to discover literature that speaks to them. Those in Amarillo who are interested in contributing should stop by North Branch Library on Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:30pm during the month of April.

Q: What kind of poetry?  Does it have to be an original?

The poem may be original or from a recognized poet. There are no restrictions in regards to material, but patrons should keep in mind this podcast is for all ages, including young children.  We recommend selecting a poem that will last no more than 2 minutes in length when read out loud. 

Q: Where do we find the recorded poems?

The link to our podcast can be found at:

Q: Is it difficult getting people interested in poetry?

Sometimes people are overwhelmed and think poetry is something that has to be deciphered like a secret code.  There are certainly a few poets out there that make you want to scratch your head and think “what in the world is this fella trying to say?”  But there are hundreds of recognized poets who take a more direct  approach.  It is wonderful to see someone flabbergasted when they discover a poet they connect to.  I love it when I hear someone say, “I thought I hated poetry, but I like this.”  

Q: What kinds of poetry books are available at the Amarillo Public Library?

We have a wonderful selection of classic and contemporary poetry for all ages.  North Branch alone has over 60 poetry books for children.  There are several excellent YA novels written in poetic format as well. We also carry Spoken Word Revolution Redux which features a CD with recordings of performances by famous slam poets. 

Q: Who is your favorite poet and why? 

That’s a hard question to answer.  I enjoy listening to slam poets (Taylor Mali, Sara Kaye, and Lemon Andersen are some of my favorites – you can find many of their performances on youtube), but when it comes to reading poetry I always enjoy the subtle humor of Billy Collins and the images Rita Dove creates.  My favorite novels in poetic verse are Sold by Patricia McCormick, Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards, and May B. by Caroline Starr Rose.