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For this week’s National Poetry Month Poet-themed staff pick of the week, we are highlighting 3 prominent and very different poets.  One is the widely acclaimed Shel Silverstein, the immortal bard William Shakespeare, and the popular children’s poet Jack Prelutsky.

Silverstein is well known for his children’s poetry collections A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.  You can check out these and some of his other works here.

We’re pretty sure that everyone has read at least one piece of Shakespeare’s work, or at least seen one of the many, many movies based on his work.  The Bard really needs no introduction, so we’ll just connect you to our catalog.

You may or may not know Jack Prelutsky, who writes wonderful children’s poetry like Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast.  He’s quite prolific and we have quite a few of his works in the library.

We hope you enjoy these poets of the week!  We’ll leave you with this:

Where the Sidewalk Ends

from the book “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1974)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go
to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

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We now offer a limited number of passes (a maximum of 4) to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ!  Grounds for Sculpture features 42 landscaped acres with a constantly evolving collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures.

Passes are available on a first-come, first-served bases at the Adult Reference Desk at the Demott Lane location (main library). Passes cannot be reserved in advance. 

The checkout period is 4 days, and passes cannot be renewed.

The museum passes are free to borrow (unless returned late or lost). The overdue fine for museum passes is $10.00 per day, up to the full replacement cost ($405.00 as of 3/17/2015). If not returned within 14 days after the due date, the museum pass will be presumed lost and borrowers will be charged the full replacement cost ($405.00 as of 3/17/2015).

Please visit the Services section of the Library’s website or stop by the Adult Reference Desk during business hours for additional program details.

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It’s National Poetry Month, and who better to be the poet of the week then one of the most popular poets in America.  Billy Collins has said about his poetry that it is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.” Accessible, delightful, and celebrating and mourning the highs and lows of everyday life, we encourage you to give one of his poetry anthologies a try.

Check out what’s available in our catalog.

Here’s a favorite poem, for a sample of his work:

Marginalia

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive –
‘Nonsense.’ ‘Please! ‘ ‘HA! ! ‘ –
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote ‘Don’t be a ninny’
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls ‘Metaphor’ next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of ‘Irony’
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
‘Absolutely,’ they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
‘Yes.’ ‘Bull’s-eye.’ ‘My man! ‘
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written ‘Man vs. Nature’
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
‘Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.’

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It’s finally starting to feel like spring!  We know a lot of you will be doing your spring cleaning soon (or maybe you already have), and might be going through your books as well.   If you’re thinking of donating them, please bear in mind our guidelines for donation when you’re boxing them up.

  • You must bring books you are donating to the Circulation Desk during normal business hours.  Out of consideration for others, we request that you do not drop donations in the book returns or leave them in bags and boxes outside the library.
  • A form letter for tax purposes is available upon request; however the estimated valuation of the donation is the responsibility of the donor.

 We will only accept books that meet the following conditions:

  1. Materials must be in good physical condition (no water damage, mildew, underlining or highlighting).
  2. Paperback books must have covers intact.
  3. Fiction books will generally be accepted if in good condition.
  4. Non-fiction books must be relevant and should not be more than 5 years old.
  5. DVDs, Spoken Word Audio CDs, Children’s Books and Music CDs will be accepted.

The library will not accept:

  1. Materials that are mildewed, moldy, dirty, dried out, damp or musty smelling.
  2. Textbooks, medical or legal texts and workbooks that accompany textbooks.
  3. Encyclopedias.
  4. Magazines, including National Geographic.
  5. VHS and cassette tapes.
  6. Reader’s Digest condensed books.
  7. Games and puzzles.

Remember, books that cannot be donated can be recycled along with your household recycling.  Recycling old books helps the environment, however you should do this from home.  The Library is not responsible for recycling unacceptable donations and it will be the patron’s responsibility to remove these donations from the Library.

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It’s National Poetry Month!  It’s time to enjoy your favorite poets or find some new ones like Rumi, Billy Collins, e.e. cummings, an anthology of poets, or one of the many other famous and not-so-famous poets we have in the collection.  Don’t like poetry?  Not a problem.  Try a novel in verse, you might be surprised at how much you like it.  Some of the novels in verse in our collection are:

  • The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (secret identities, faked murder, and enough drama for at least three Shakespeare plays)
  • Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (modern true stories behind fairy tales)
  • Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski (a topsy-turvy modern Romeo and Juliet tale)
  • After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy (two high school seniors getting through their last semester)
  • The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones (a novel of middle age, motherhood, marriage and mayhem)

… the list goes on.  Try something new this month and tell us if you like it.  You can find more on the “Something Different” bookmarks at Circulation too.  You can find Novels in Verse and Poetry books in the catalog.

There are tons of events, support and ideas for National Poetry Month as well.  Check out some of these from ReadingRockets, ReadWriteThink & Scholastic.  The National Poetry Month official website has a lot of great resources as well including a poem a day, Dear Poet project, poem in your pocket day, and more!

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