Listen up! It’s National Poetry Month

Audiobooks + poetry = perfect partners. There’s no better way to experience the literary form created for oral expression than through listening to a great recitation. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to carry a poem in your pocket on Thursday, April 14, 2011 (National Poem in Your Pocket Day) or any day during National Poetry Month.

Most major audiobook publishers have poetry in their catalog, but a few companies have extensive, excellent collections: Naxos Audiobooks’ classic poetry, Harper Audio’s Caedmon Essentials collection,  Sourcebooks‘ print + audio CD titles, Live Oak Media‘s youth & teen titles. It’s hard to track down audiobook poetry, as publisher catalogs may list poetry in various location – nonfiction, classics, even drama. The annual Audies award doesn’t include a separate poetry category, but you’ll find poetry sprinkled among each year’s nominees and winners. The Grammy Award spoken word categories often include poetry. ALA recognizes audiobook poetry in the  Notable Children’s Recordings list, the Amazing Audiobooks list, and the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. And BooklistOnline’s advance search function allows users to narrow search results to poetry available in both audio and video formats. Plus, you’ll often find poetry featured on BooklistOnline’s Review of the Day (like my starred review of Walter Dean Myers’ Here in Harlem), or free email newsletters – remember, tons of Booklist reviews are available on our free online resources, greatly expanding the number in the print magazine! And Book Link’s Everyday Poetry column by Sylvia Vardell is an absolute must-read for poetry lovers.

Audio clips of poetry abound on the web: the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud project’s website site that contains lesson plans and activities for teachers and librarians eager to assist students in recitation and performance in poetry competitions, the Academy of American Poet’s archive of over 800 video & audio selections, Lyrikline’s international collection of verse in over 55 languages and the voices of the authors, Courtland Review’s streaming audio literary magazine, UbuWeb’s Sound project,  the PBS Favorite Poem Project video collection, the Children’s Poetry Archive, and many more. If you have a favorite poetry resource or audiobook, add it to the comments!



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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