Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. This April, United States Poet Laureate Philip Levine and Philadelphia’s first Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez will be among the acclaimed authors, science writers and costumed children’s storybook characters who will join the Sixth Annual Philadelphia Book Festival. The six-day Festival embraces literacy, creativity and the sciences with a diverse array of free and ticketed events for all members of the community.
In January 2012, Michael A. Nutter appointed Sanchez — the author of several plays, children’s books and nearly 20 collections of poetry — into the the city’s new poet laureate program. “What an honor!” remarked Sanchez. “I accept this position as poet laureate of Philadelphia on behalf of the citizens of this wonderful city. I accept this position as poet laureate to remind us how poetry makes us remember the best of ourselves and others. How it keeps us constantly confronting the most important question of this twenty-first century: what does it mean to be human?” Sanchez will be featured at the Festival on Wednesday, April 18.
The Festival begins on Monday, April 16 with evening events throughout the week, and concludes with children’s activities outside in Shakespeare Park and a series of science-inspired events inside the Central Library on Saturday, April 21, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Science Festival.
“The Sixth Annual Philadelphia Book Festival provides us with another opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful and creative things the Free Library of Big Ideas does year-round during one exciting week. With renowned authors and plenty of interactive events, this year’s Festival promises to provide fun for the whole family,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “We’re especially thrilled to be partnering again with the Philadelphia Science Festival this year by hosting renowned science writers for great conversations at the Free Library.”
To find out more about the 2012 Philadelphia Book Festival, visit freelibrary.org/festival.