National Poetry Month has grown into the largest literary celebration in the world. Below are our picks for the best poetry-related events in the city throughout April.
Best American Poetry: 30 Years…
10 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282
Poetry can be difficult and diffuse, no doubt, which is why the Best American Poetry series has been such a revelation. Each year a notable poet picks several notable poems, offering a snapshot of poetry that year. Poets House, a comprehensive library and light-filled literary center, hosts a huge reading to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series, featuring readings from past editors, including Terrance Hayes, Natasha Trethewey, and Mark Doty. Tuesday, April 3, $10, tickets required.
Langston Hughes Poetry Slam
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Blvd.
New York, NY 10037
On the first Friday of the month, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture throws opens its doors and welcomes the community with live music, special cocktails, and more. This month, center director Kevin Young, an award-winning poet as well as the poetry editor of The New Yorker, will kick off an open mic night, honoring Langston Hughes (his ashes are interred in the lobby). Be prepared to share your work! Friday, April 6, 6 to 10 pm, free, must be 21 or older.
Jeremy Irons Reads “Four Quartets”
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
New York, New York 10128
Celebrated actor Jeremy Irons takes the stage at 92nd Street Y for a very special night of poetry. Irons will read Four Quartets, four interlocked poems by T. S. Eliot that muse on the nature of time, the nature of divinity, and the nature of man, in its entirety on the (almost) 75th anniversary of the book’s publication. The event will also feature the inaugural Four Quartets Poetry Prize, presented by the T. S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America. Thursday, April 12, 7:30 pm, $34, tickets required.
Poetry & the Creative Mind
Alice Tully Hall
New York, NY 10023
Ensure that poetry endures by attending the 16th annual Poetry & the Creative Mind. This star-studded event benefits the Academy of American Poets, which promotes poets and poetry year-round across the United States, with celebrated actors, dancers, and musicians sharing (or performing) the poems that mean the most to them on stage at Lincoln Center. Past participants include Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, and Nick Cannon. Wednesday, April 25, 6:30 pm, $45 and above, tickets required.
The Poetry Brothel—Clue Edition
New York, NY 10003
The Poetry Brothel seeks to rescue poetry from stuffy academics and humorless scribes. To celebrate National Poetry Month, this performance troupe will take over the Strand’s Rare Book Room for an evening of verse, verve, and style—in true Clue fashion. Expect “spontaneous eruptions of poetry,” as well as live music, vaudeville, and cabaret. Up the fun by dressing in your favorite period clothes. Your $50 ticket gets you a $10 gift card. Thursday, April 27, 7 to 11 pm, $50, tickets required.