World Poetry Day is held each year on March 21 to celebrate “the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” It was founded in 1999 by UNESCO in the hopes of promoting poetry as a way to communicate across borders and cultural differences. The works of famous poets including William Shakespeare, John Keats and Maya Angelou transcend boundaries and resonate throughout the world. As individuals, by reading poetry or taking up the daunting task (for many of us!) of writing a poem, we gain better understanding and appreciation of the world around us and our place in that world.

Did you know that the City of Whittier will soon have a poet laureate? As reported in the Whittier Daily News (dated January 11, 2024), the City Council unanimously approved a proposal to establish the Whittier poet laureate position during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9. The poet laureate will serve as an official ambassador of Whittier’s creative scene, promoting the city’s rich literary community.

And, of course our own Whittier College students are known as the Poets. The school’s mascot is Johnny Poet, a Quaker who carries around a giant pen (mightier than the sword!) Johnny Poet is a nod to a prominent historical figure: both the college and its town were named after John Greenleaf Whittier, a poet and leader in the abolitionist movement.

The bookstore has a wide selection of poetry books, including books by Whittier College’s beloved Professor Tony Barnstone, shelved alphabetically by author with sections also dedicated to children’s poetry, spiritual poetry, anthologies and more. Ask one of our volunteers where to find what you are looking for or have fun browsing our shelves!

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