April is Poetry Month! Celebrate by learning about poetry through Hunter Libraries!

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Post by Lisa Finder, Associate Professor, Electronic Resources Librarian, and Liaison to the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies

It is said that April showers bring May flowers. This saying may have originated with the following short poem that the English poet Thomas Tusser wrote in 1557.

Sweet April showers

Do spring May flowers

 The Academy of American poets designated April as National Poetry Month in 1996.  This year we observe the 25th anniversary of this celebration. Notably, four United States presidents included poetry in their inauguration ceremonies: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden.  The first poet to participate was 87 year-old  Robert Frost who read  “The Gift Outright” at JFK’s inauguration. This year, Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration.

To find information about a particular poem, the database, Gale Literature, is an excellent resource.  You can find it by starting at the library home page https://library.hunter.cuny.edu/  then selecting the databases tab. You will see an alphabetical list of our subscribed databases. For information about Langston Hughes’ poem, “I too,” enter that title into the search box.      
 

This is a recording of Langston Hughes commenting on and reading his poem. Below is the text:

I, Too  

By Langston Hughes  

I, too, sing America.

 

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

 

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

 

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

 

I, too, am America.

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