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Virtual Library Book Displays

Check out our virtual book displays curated by student employees and librarians.

Poem in Your Pocket

STL is celebrating Poetry Month with virtual pocket poems written by members of our community. Come read and share poems authored by students, community members, staff, and faculty. We hope you enjoy and maybe even get inspired to write your own poetry.

Poetry

This display reflects poetry written about poetry, meter, rhythm, speech duration, politics, race, American history, humanism, queerness, and nature from a Black perspective. 

eBooks

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

Note: this is a physical book only. 

Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry—anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.

Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics.

Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems

Note: this is a physical book only. 

During his lifetime (1924–1987), James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, which were published to wide-spread praise. These books, among them Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next TimeGiovanni’s Room, and Go Tell It on the Mountain, brought him well-deserved acclaim as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer.

Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America

Jerome Branche presents the reader with the complex landscape of art and literature among Afro-Hispanic and Latin artists. Branche and his contributors describe individuals such as Juan Francisco Manzano, who wrote an autobiography on the slave experience in Cuba during the nineteenth century. The reader finds a thriving Afro-Hispanic theatrical presence throughout Latin America and even across the Atlantic. The role of black women in poetry and literature comes to the forefront in the Caribbean, presenting a powerful reminder of the diversity that defines the region.

Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry

Open Gate is the first bilingual volume of Haitian Creole poetry published in English. Seven years in the making, this anthology is the result of the dedication of its editors and translators, Paul Laraque, Jack Hirschman and the Haitian poet Boadiba, as well as Max Manigat, one of the first teachers of Creole on the university level who was an invaluable advisor.The editors focus on contemporary Creole poetry that reflects the struggle for human rights in Haiti. The book is divided into three sections: Pioneers of Modern Haitian Creole poetry, beginning with the founder of modern Haitian Creole literature, Felix Morisseu-Leroy (19131998); the flowering of Haitian poetry as represented by the literary movement, "Society of Butterflies," some of whose members were jailed or exiled by the bloody Duvalier dictatorship; and the New Generation featuring primarily those poets in the Diaspora whose work has been published in the last 15 years.

Starfish

Note: this is a physical book only. 

With linguistic precision and visual dexterity, Starfish explores the bottomless depths of human intimacy and loss, reconciled against the vastness of the ocean and infinity of the cosmos. What if we had to pick: "The ocean or the stars. / A reputation in truth-telling or a prize in diplomacy?" ("Elements of Style"). At times rendered through the perception of a "year-rounder" residing in a tourist locale, its poems offer close-up portraits of individuals bounded by shorelines yet attuned to expansive horizons. Alert to how elemental symbols delight as well as unsettle us, the book as a whole weighs the ceaseless negotiation of our actions against the limits of temporality.

Complete Poems

Containing more than three hundred poems, including nearly a hundred previously unpublished works, this unique collection showcases the intellectual range of Claude McKay (1889-1948), the Jamaican-born poet and novelist whose life and work were marked by restless travel and steadfast social protest. McKay's first poems were composed in rural Jamaican creole and launched his lifelong commitment to representing everyday black culture from the bottom up. Migrating to New York, he reinvigorated the English sonnet and helped spark the Harlem Renaissance with poems such as "If We Must Die." After coming under scrutiny for his communism, he traveled throughout Europe and North Africa for twelve years and returned to Harlem in 1934, having denounced Stalin's Soviet Union. By then, McKay's pristine "violent sonnets" were giving way to confessional lyrics informed by his newfound Catholicism.

McKay's verse eludes easy definition, yet this complete anthology, vividly introduced and carefully annotated by William J. Maxwell, acquaints readers with the full transnational evolution of a major voice in twentieth-century poetry.

Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology

Written by a preeminent critic and legendary teacher, this text and anthology presents the incisive, practical methods of reading and writing that Helen Vendler has used for decades to demystify poetry for her students and introduce them to its artistry and pleasures.

The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide

The Poet Laureate's clear and entertaining account of how poetry works.

"Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art," Robert Pinsky declares in The Sounds of Poetry. "The medium of poetry is the human body: the column of air inside the chest, shaped into signifying sounds in the larynx and the mouth. In this sense, poetry is as physical or bodily an art as dancing."

As Poet Laureate, Pinsky is one of America's best spokesmen for poetry. In this fascinating book, he explains how poets use the "technology" of poetry--its sounds--to create works of art that are "performed" in us when we read them aloud.

He devotes brief, informative chapters to accent and duration, syntax and line, like and unlike sounds, blank and free verse. He cites examples from the work of fifty different poets--from Shakespeare, Donne, and Herbert to W. C. Williams, Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, C. K. Williams, Louise Glück, and Frank Bidart.

This ideal introductory volume belongs in the library of every poet and student of poetry.
 

Blacks

Here is a necessary collection of poetry for admirers of words and treasurers of literary beauty. Spanning more than 30 years, this collection of literary masterpieces by the venerable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, arguably Illinois' most beloved Poet Laureate and Chicago's elder black literary stateswoman, Blacks includes all of Ms. Brooks' critically acclaimed writings. Within its covers is the groundbreaking "Annie Allen," which earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. There is also the sweepingly beautiful and finely crafted "A Street in Bronzeville," a highly anticipated and lauded poetic treasure that spoke volumes for this great poet's love of black people, Chicago's Black community, and even the community of the world. Blacks includes a special treat, Maud Martha, Brooks' only novel.

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

Note: this is a physical book only. 

Collected here for the first time are more than three hundred poems from one of this country's major and most influential poets, representing the complete oeuvre of Audre Lorde's poetry. Lorde published nine volumes of poetry which, in her words, detail "a linguistic and emotional tour through the conflicts, fears, and hopes of the world I have inhabited." Included here are Lorde's early, previously unavailable works: The First Cities, The New York Head Shop and Museum, Cables to Rage, and From a Land Where Other People Live.