The first space in Chicago dedicated solely to the art of poetry, the Poetry Foundation building realizes Harriet Monroe’s dream, set out in her very first editorial, that the magazine would help poets pursue their art, increase public interest in poetry, and raise the profile of poetry in our culture. It also is Poetry magazine’s first permanent home in its 100-year history. Designed by the Chicago firm John Ronan Architects, the building helps the Foundation to carry out its mission: to discover and celebrate the best poetry and place it before the largest possible audience. Since its opening in June 2011, it has been praised widely; the November 2011 issue of Architectural Record notes, “In keeping with the art form it serves, the new Poetry Foundation is a respectful, restrained building that employs an economy of means and methods, just as a good poem employs an economy of language.” The building complies with the Silver Level of the US Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System.
The Poetry Foundation houses:
- a 30,000-volume poetry library
- an exhibition gallery
- a performance space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public events
- the Poetry Foundation’s programming offices, including those of Poetry magazine
An update in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
The Poetry Foundation building in downtown Chicago is closed to the public for the remainder of 2020 to continue prioritizing the safety and well-being of our staff and patrons. In lieu of in-person events, free online programs and resources, including writing workshops, book clubs, and teaching guides, are available.
For those seeking inspiration, please check out our special collections like Poems of Sickness, Illness, and Recovery and Poems of Anxiety and Uncertainty, and resources for educators and parents teaching at home.
The Poetry Foundation can accommodate groups of up to 20 to visit the building to explore our library, exhibit gallery and performance space. To ensure there are no conflicts with scheduled events, we strongly suggest you call ahead to plan a visit. In fairness to all of our visitors we do not permit guided tours or group discussions, but encourage independent, self-guided exploration throughout the entirety of our public spaces.
Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Chicago, IL 60654
Our building is closed for the remainder of 2020. Stay connected with us online.
Directions to the Poetry Foundation
Our building is located at the corner of Dearborn Street and Superior Street. The entrance begins by the ramp or steps at the corner where the tree lined courtyard opens, part of the building’s slowly-unfolding spatial sequence revealed space by space, not unlike a poem is revealed line by line. Walking through the tree lined courtyard leads past the performance space and gallery, to the doors which are just before the library.
If traveling by bus or train:
The Poetry Foundation can be reached via CTA: the Chicago Avenue stops on the Red Line or Brown “L” Lines (the Red Line is closest); or, CTA Bus Route 22 to Huron and Clark (Southbound) or Huron and Dearborn (Northbound).
If traveling by car:
The nearest parking garages include InterPark Parking Garage, located at 750 N. Dearborn St., and Standard Parking located at 1 W. Superior St. The Poetry Foundation is not affiliated with either and cannot validate parking. Metered street parking is also available in the vicinity of the building.
Ramp access is available on Dearborn Street. All public spaces, including an all gender restroom, are accessible, and located on the ground-level. For questions, please call (312) 787-7070.