I have to admit, I’d never thought about these questions, but you may want to ponder them for a while before visiting the Poetry Foundation Library.
Why? Because the Poetry Foundation Library building was purposefully built to be experienced the way one experiences reading a poem. Having read an embarrassingly small amount of poetry, I don’t think I’m qualified to pass judgement on whether this goal has been achieved, but I can say without a doubt that the concept is totally rad and the resulting library is a really beautiful space.
The library houses Poetry Magazine’s collection along with new acquisitions focusing on small presses. The library’s collection has also been expanded through donations and houses specialized collections like poetry for children. The collection is organized with the goal of making it accessible to the public. To that end, books are shelved by author rather than classification system.
In addition to housing books and journals, the library has a performance space that was specifically designed for poetry readings. The room’s parabolic ceiling and sound reflecting walls were added specifically to amplify the human voice so that the reader doesn’t need to wear a mic. The library also has listening booths and a recording studio for interactive poetry appreciation.
Whether you’re a poetry aficionado or a novice like me, if you’re ever in Chicago, the poetry foundation library is worth a visit. For more information, check out their website at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/programs/library
And remember: Have no fear poetry is near!