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We are currently closed, but we hope you’ll stay connected with our programs during this time. To participate in our daily poetry prompt, visit Poetry & Practice. To view online book clubs and poetry workshops, visit our Events page.

Poetry Foundation Library
Browse the library's collection of over 30,000 volumes.
About the Library

The Poetry Foundation Library is the Midwest’s only library dedicated to poetry. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library hosts interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in people of all ages. Learn more about using the library.

The Collection

The origins of the library are in the working collection of Poetry magazine. Titles originally sent to the magazine for review or acquired for editorial needs now comprise a distinctive collection of the poetry of the past century.

The library’s current collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, and to include representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras. The collection contains individual author monographs, anthologies, journals, rare and limited editions, broadsides, chapbooks, criticism, and prose works by poets. Audio archives include restored recordings of poets, like Gwendolyn Brooks and Czeslaw Milosz, reading their own work.

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Accessing Titles in Special Collections

Field Trips

The Poetry Foundation Library is available for virtual field trips, and to support teachers, students, and parents through remote learning. For assistance with lesson plans and writing prompts, or to schedule a field trip, please email [email protected].


To contact the librarian, please email [email protected] or call 312.799.8057


Notice to Visitors

Read our statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please Note

Building Closures:

Our building is closed for the remainder of 2020. Stay connected with us online.