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May 14, 2014
Poetic Musing: Poetry Book Spine Challenge
Washington , DC


Books For America
1417 22nd Street NW
Washington, DC
(202) 835-2665

Bridge Street Books
2814 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC
(202) 965-5200

Busboys & Poets Books
2021 14th Street NW
Washington, DC
(202) 387-7638

Busboys & Poets Books
1025 5th Street. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 789-2227

Georgetown University Bookstore
3800 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC
(202) 687-7482

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
1517 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 387-1400

Politics and Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, DC
(202) 364-1919

Riverby Books
417 East Capitol Street
Washington, DC

Sankosa Books & Cafe
2714 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
(202) 234-4755

Second Story Books
2000 P Street NW
Washington, DC
(202) 659-8884


Presidential Poetry
John Tyler was one of several chief executives who wrote poetry.

DC Poetry Readings
A list of regular poetry readings and slam events in the DC area.

DC Slam
DC's certified poetry slam venue and the official track to the National Poetry Slam.

District of Columbia Add to Notebook
Poet Laureate

Dolores Kendrick
Appointed Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia on May 14, 1999, Dolores Kendrick follows Sterling A. Brown as the second poet honored with the title.
Featured Poets

Sterling A. Brown
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1901, Sterling A. Brown is known for his frank, unsentimental portraits of black people and their experiences. He died in 1989 in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Other D.C. Poets
Elizabeth Alexander
Thomas Sayers Ellis
Saskia Hamilton
Georgia Douglas Johnson
E. Ethelbert Miller
Rod Smith
Jean Toomer
Literary Organizations & Centers

DC Arts Center
The District of Columbia Arts Center is a nonprofit organization located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. DCAC supports emerging artists who are trying to get a foothold in the public arena, including slam and spoken-word poets.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress
The Center was founded in the 1940s and is currently the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. In addition to supporting the Poet Laureateís activities and interests, the Center sponsors an annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures, symposia, occasional dramatic performances, and other literary events, and administers the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry and the Witter Bynner Fellowships for newer poets.

Sol & Soul
Fostering artistry and critical social analysis in the city since 2000, Sol & Soul hosts readings, performances, and workshops featuring DC artists, as well as those from other parts of the country. Part reading group, part workshop, part performance collective, Soul & Soul works with young and emerging artists striving to make a difference through excellence— and all Sol & Soul-sponsored events include a post-performance discussion with the audience.

By promoting the reading, writing, and performance of literature, the DC WritersCorp aims to get students reading and writing outside of the classroom. Performances, readings, and media productions are used to highlight the students' creative and intellectual achievements.

Washington Museum of Russian Poetry and Music
Open to the public since 1997, the Museum exhibits material from different museums, universities, and private individuals from Russia, Ukraine, France, Canada, and Israel. The Museum organizes seminars about Russian poetry, music and poetry festivals, and field visits to various poetry landmarks in the Washington DC area.

American Poetry Museum
Incorporated in 2004, the American Poetry Museum is dedicated to celebrating this nationís diverse poetic traditions using written and spoken poetry as an educative tool. The mission is to celebrate poetry, promote literacy, foster meaningful dialogue, encourage an appreciation for the diversity of the American experience, and to educate audiences through the presentation, preservation and interpretation of American poetry.

The American Writers Museum
Currently in its concept stage, The American Writers Museum is recruiting friends to join in making the vision for such a museum a reality. As conceived, the museum will cover the incredible range of American literature across genres, historical periods, and ethnic traditions. It will inspire visitors to connect with literature in fun, creative, and unexpected ways, instilling in anyone who walks through its doors a passion for the stories that have shaped our country.

Reading Series & Literary Festivals

Folger Poetry Series
The Folger Shakespeare Library, located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, is a world-class research center on Shakespeare and on the early modern age in the West. The Folger is known for its wide array of scholarly and public programs, including regularly scheduled poetry readings. Folger Poetry also partners with community organizations to host special poetry events throughout the year.

Lannan Literary Programs
Lannan Literary Programs stages readings, talks, seminars, and symposia from the world of contemporary writing. Funding is provided by the Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, NM, in partnership with Georgetown University.

Bridge Street Books, in your ear, and Ruthless Grip exists primarily to promote three readings series in Washington, DC—Bridge Street Books, in your ear at the D.C. Arts Center, and Ruthless Grip at Pyramid Atlantic—and the work of poets who read there.

Parkmont Poetry Festival
Each year for more than twenty years the Parkmont School has been celebrating the creative talents of the District of Columbia's middle and secondary school students by sponsoring the Parkmont Poetry Festival. The annual event is open to the public.

Literary Journals & Small Presses

Washington Writers' Publishing House
Washington Writers' Publishing House is a non-profit organization that has published over 50 volumes of poetry since 1973 and so far nearly a dozen volumes of fiction. The press also sponsors an annual competition for poets and fiction writers living in the Washington-Baltimore area.

Web Del Sol
Web del Sol is a collaboration on the part of scores of dedicated volunteer editors, writers, poets, artists, and staff to promote, fund, and support the writing, publishing, and reading of contemporary literature in electronic media.

Gentlemen have power now and know it,
But even the greatest and most famous kings
Feared and with reason to offend the poets
Whose songs are marble
                                and whose marble sings.

From "A Poet Speaks from the Visitors' Gallery" by Archibald MacLeish

Poetic History

The Poetic History of Washington, DC
Washington, DC, first came to literary prominence during the Civil War. In 1862, Walt Whitman arrived in Washington to care for his brother who had been wounded in the war. After witnessing the thousands of suffering soldiers in Washington, Whitman decided to stay and work in the hospitals. He remained for eleven years. During that time, he worked as a clerk for the Department of the Interior, a job that abruptly ended when the Secretary of the Interior, James Harlan, discovered that Whitman was the Walt Whitman, author of Leaves of Grass, which Harlan found morally offensive. Before leaving the city for New Jersey, Whitman had composed some of his most famous works, including "When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "O Captain! My Captain!" Read more >

The film Slam is punctuated by performances of poems written its cast of slam luminaries, including Saul Williams in the lead role, and cameos by Taylor Mali and Bob Holman. Many of these moving pieces represent deeply felt reactions to the desperate conditions in Washington, D.C.'s inner city. Read more >

Poems about Washington, DC

The Woman at the Washington Zoo
by Randall Jarrell
The saris go by me from the embassies...

A Poet Speaks from the Visitors' Gallery
by Archibald MacLeish
Have Gentlemen perhaps forgotten this?

Aeneas at Washington
by Allen Tate
I myself saw furious with blood...

Patriotic Tour and Postulate of Joy
by Robert Penn Warren
Once, once, in Washington...

Foreign Affairs
by Stanley Kunitz
We are two countries girded for the war...

View of the Capitol from the Library of Congress
by Elizabeth Bishop
Moving from left to left, the light...

City of Monuments
by Muriel Rukeyser
Be proud   you people   of these graves...

Dream Song 200
by John Berryman
I am interested & amazed: on the building across the way...

The Rise and Fall of the Swagger Stick
by William Jay Smith
When things in Washington get thick...

A Mild-Spoken Citizen Finally Writes to the White House
by William Meredith
Please read this letter when you are alone...

It Pleases
by Gary Snyder
Far above the dome...

Writing Programs & Colonies

American University
Established in 1980, the M.F.A. program at American University "is dedicated to supporting the intensely personal act of creating literature that will illuminate and endure." Featured faculty members include Kyle Dargan, Richard McCann, Myra Sklarew, and Henry Taylor.

George Mason University
Masonís MFA program, started in 1980, offers workshops in all three genres, enrolling just over 100 students. The program fully supports 37 students with full-time graduate assistantships and fellowships. Program alumni publish with both major and small presses, as well as on-line, following the lead of the faculty, who collectively have published more than 65 books. Faculty includes Eric Pankey, Jennifer Atkinson, Sally Keith, and Susan Tichy.

D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop, based in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast D.C., unites parents, teachers and professional writers-in-residence to transform the lives of youth through self-expression and the power of the written word. For more information, contact

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