Luckily, this week’s Poetry Scavenger Hunt stop took place before the blizzard and near complete shut-down of Boston! I went on my lunch break on Monday, and I admit to rather nervously watching out the window as the snow began to fall and then become increasingly heavy as time progressed. The Woodberry Poetry Room is Harvard’s dedicated center for poetry, located in Lamont Library, and open to the public (you do not need to be affiliated with Harvard to visit – you simply request a pass for the Woodberry Room at the front desk of the library). It has a special emphasis on audio recordings of poetry readings and has preserved the voices of some of our most beloved poets. They host events, sponsor readings, and just inaugurated their own blog, called “Stylus.”
The room, founded in 1931 and currently housed in a room designed in 1949, is warm and welcoming. In the center of the reading tables and on the wall is art and memorabilia commemorating the collection of recordings they preserve. The story of the audio collection can be found here and is worth a read. Poet and friend Meg Eden originated the idea of a poetry scavenger hunt – her website is here and info about her new chapbook is here. I took the hunt virtual and brought everyone along for a tour of poetry sites in Boston. If you are joining us for the first time, would like to know more, or would like to revisit any of the other stops: Stop 1, Stop 2, Stop 3, and Stop 4!
That last photograph is the best I could do of a letter signed by Ezra Pound giving Harvard the right to use the recording of his poetry reading – with the explicit exception of the poem “Altaforte” – I would be interested to hear the story behind that!
In the envelope at the poetry room is a poem by Chen Chen: