Library to Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and the Joliet Junior College Library will be celebrating with a remembrance of the American poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who died on Feb. 22, 2021. Ferlinghetti was most closely associated with the Beat Poets and his bookstore, City Lights, a gathering place for writers and those interested in social change.

“His City Lights Booksellers featured a banned book display in 1958, decades before the American Library Association’s (ALA) Banned Books Week was recognized annually,” said JJC librarian Michelle Y. Roubal. 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ferlinghetti was an advocate of freedom of expression. He was also an independent publisher, paving the way for more to come and giving opportunities to writers who might not be read.

On Thursday, Apr. 22 at 7 p.m., students and community members can join JJC English professor and poet Bill Yarrow, along with other guest poets and speakers, as they read and discuss some of their favorite Ferlinghetti poems in honor of his life. Participants are asked to register for this online Zoom event, which is free and open to the public.

Speakers include:

John Burroughs: Burroughs is the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press and selected as the 2019-2021 Ohio Beat Poet Laureate. His recent poetry collections include “Loss and Foundering,” “The Eater of the Absurd” and “Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019.”

Mike Hainzinger: Hainzinger is a professor of English/World Language at JJC and the author of “Chinese with Mike.” He started his teaching life as an English instructor in Taiwan. He went on to gain his Chinese Teaching Certificate from the Confucius Institute and has since held posts teaching and developing course materials at the University of Chicago and Prairie State College. He teaches developmental writing and Mandarin Chinese at Joliet Junior College.

Pam Miller: Miller has published four books of poetry, including “Recipes for Disaster” and “Miss Unthinkable,” both from Mayapple Press. Her work has appeared in RHINO, New Poetry from the Midwest 2017, Pirene’s Fountain, Peacock Journal, MAYDAY and many other journals and anthologies.

John Raffetto: Raffetto has published poetry in “Gloom Cupboard,” “Wilderness House Literary Review,” “BlazeVox,” “Literary Orphans,” “Ariel Chart,” “Olentangy Review” and “Exact Change.” He worked as a horticulturalist and landscape designer for many years at the Chicago Park District, a rich environment for drawing inspiration for poems concerning nature, people and the city. “Human Botany,” his first book of poetry, was published by Kelsay Books in 2020.

Joani Reese: Reese is the author of “Final Notes,” “Dead Letters” and “Night Chorus.” Her poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and featured in both print and online venues. Reese won the first Patricia McFarland Memorial Prize for her flash fiction and The Graduate School Creative Writing Award from The University of Memphis for her poetry, where she earned her MFA. Reese won the 15th Glass Woman Prize in 2014 for her flash fiction. She lives in Texas and manages the writing center at Collin College.

Bud Smith: Smith is the author of the memoir “WORK,” the short story collection “Double Bird,” the poetry collections “Everything Neon” and “Dust Bunny City,” and the novel “F 250,” among others. His novel “Teenager” is forthcoming from Tyrant Books. He works heavy construction and lives in New Jersey.

Bill Yarrow: Yarrow is the author of eleven collections of poetry including “Blasphemer” and “The Vig of Love.” His most recent book is “Accelerant” from Nixes Mate Books. He has been nominated eight times for a Pushcart Prize.