National Poetry Month Readings at Flintridge Bookstore

Beginning the last week of March and throughout April, Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse celebrates National Poetry Month (April) with five special events. National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, curators, publishers, bloggers, and of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.

The Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to highlight the achievements of American poets, assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms, encourage increased publication, distribution and reading of poetry books, and generally support poets. 

In keeping with this goal to spread the appreciation of poetry, Flintridge Bookstore hosts five readings:

We recognize National Poetry Month a bit early with a reading honoring a century of poet, radical, publisher, and booksmith Lawrence Ferlinghetti. This legendary personality, who opened the iconic City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco in 1953, turns 100 on Sunday, March 24. At 4 PM on that day, local poets Marcielle Brandler, Don Kingfisher Campbell, Bill Cushing, Kitty Kroger, and Gobind Tanaka commemorate Ferlinghetti with a program including his poetry as well as their original work.

On Sunday, April 7 at 4 PM, Moonday Poetry Series features Suzanne Lummis, the 2018/19 COLA (City of Los Angeles) award winner and fellow. This honor comes with an endowment to create a new body of work. Her poetry has been published in The New Yorker magazine and many literary journals. The Los Angeles Times named the anthology she edited, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, one of the Ten Best Books of 2015. 

Nare Garibyan reads selections from her book When Ruins Speak: A Journey of Poems on Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 PM. These poems chronicle the poet’s journey to her lost homeland, in search of a connection to the land of her ancestors, now in ruin. Her travels take her to Western Armenia, present-day  Eastern Turkey. They are written in an attempt to resuscitate the belief of empathic survival in a tumultuous world.

Saturday, April 27 is Independent Bookstore Day, a national recognition of the country’s local bookstores. As part of our programming that day, at 3 PM we present the poets Charles Jensen and Sheila McMullin, who read from their respective books Nanopedia and daughterrarium, and host an open mic. Nanopedia (LGBTQIA) takes the form of "the world's smallest encyclopedia" of American culture. Jensen’s prose poems explore concepts coined in or corrupted by (or both) America from vantage points that are both deeply personal and politically charged. In daughterrarium (Women’s Studies), avowed feminist McMullin “scores the flesh of her observations and sears them with ponderous, mostly unanswerable questions about pain and anger, consequences, finality...” – Foreword Reviews

Poet Yun Wang launches her book Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms: Tune Poems of Su Dong-Po on Sunday, April 28 at 4 PM. Su Dong-Po was a Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) master poet, credited with transforming a minor form of poetry (the tune poem) to the primary vessel for lyric poetry in China. Yun Wang’s translations of classical Chinese poetry are highly regarded and have appeared in a number of journals and magazines.