Boston Public Library
Press Room

Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

State of the City Poem 2015: Praisesong for Boston

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Gina Perille in General

COBseal_walsh-001Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s State of the City speech on January 13 featured a poem crafted by City of Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges. The library is honored to share it here.

Praisesong for Boston 

Begin with the Massachusett, setting nets in the harbor
Of Boston, before it was Boston harbor—Quonehassit,
Place of clear water, and arrive at my door.  I, immigrant

Like so many settlers nestled in your arms, write this poem
To you Boston.  If I write Trimount it is for your hills,
Some still standing, others razed, the land changed, as lands are,

As time passes, and yet history is yours, Boston, the good and bad of it,
The inarticulated and the often-stated:  A Puritan’s beacon, Wheatley’s
Pen, Winthrop’s city upon a hill, Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured

Citizens of the world, the vision and grandeur that are Gardner’s,
The words lost to the grey and blue Atlantic.  If I place an emerald
Necklace at your feet, it is to match the medallions of your ever-turning

Wheels:  bicycles and school-buses, the railroads and helms of trade
And fate, of fire and grit, of determination’s grip, of cod and beans,
And the great house of science, and the great house of knowledge,

And the great house of art.  International since the day you were born,
If cities are born.  And if you are grown, then out of everything you
Have grown:  a revolution’s spark, the arc of a wide bridge,

Cable-stayed, lit electric, wharves and new waves,
And the complicated notions of freedom and forward,
And the ease of summer days and sturdy neighbors:

Chris, young terror of Sumner Street; Alana eating a pear,
Already in third grade; John, but call him Mac; Santiago
Who yells louder than God; and Wendy who yells louder;

And Wayne, uncle to all, from his big yellow house greeting
Each newcomer to the neighborhood.

Danielle Legros Georges


(this poem is indebted to Robert J. Allison’s
A Short History of Boston)

Poetry Month at the BPL

Posted on March 31st, 2014 by admin in General

Slide 1

April is National Poetry Month and Boston Public Library has a variety of activities and programs planned to bring out the creativity and inner poet in people of all ages:

  • Books of Hope Poetry for Children: Read, write, recite, and perform poetry with the Books of Hope creative writing program. For children ages six and up at several library locations.
  • Books of Hope Poetry for Teens: Connect poetry to hip-hop, theater, and current social issues and express yourself in an atmosphere of positivity. Teens ages 12-18 can explore themes of culture, neighborhoods and urban identity throughout April.
  • Boston Shakespeare Sonnet-thon: Celebrate the birth month of William Shakespeare and perform or recite the sonnet of your choice on Monday, April 7, from 5-8:30 p.m. in Rabb Lecture Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square. All are welcome.
  • Magnetic Poetry: Create your own unique set of magnetic words to take home and make into refrigerator poetry at select library locations. For teens ages 12-18.
  • Public Women, Private Lives Exhibition: The exhibition contains books and manuscripts from the BPL’s special collections and illustrates the public and private lives of reputed writers, many of whom were poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, and Julia Ward Howe. On display through May 30 in the Rare Books Lobby at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Visit the library’s calendar for a complete list of poetry-themed events during the month of April.