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Birmingham Celebrates National Poetry Month with These Area Events

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Salaam Green, City of Birmingham's inaugural Poet Laureate, will be busy in April with readings on Thursday, the 18th and Tuesday, the 30th among others. (File)

The Birmingham Times

The sixth annual Magic City Poetry Festival kicks off April 2 with readings at the Hoover Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m.

Poets can register to perform at magiccitypoetryfestival.org.

The Magic City Poetry Festival is a monthlong event held each April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Organizers assemble poets and artists from Alabama and beyond to give readings, do poetry in the parks, teach workshops, give lectures and perform multidisciplinary art pieces across the greater Birmingham area.

“Whether you’re enjoying a blend of jazz and poetry, reading your own work at a salon or attending an event virtually, this year’s festival will inspire creativity in the young and young at heart,” festival director Ashley Jones said in a news release.

To see the full schedule of events and register to attend, visit to magiccitypoetryfestival.org.

Poetry Matters @ Hoover Public Library

When: Tues., April 2

Where: Hoover Public Library

200 Municipal Drive

Hoover, AL 35216

Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Read original poetry, recite beloved verse, and honor the importance of poetry in our lives. Performer registration required. In coordination with the Magic City Poetry Festival, poetry takes the main stage at the library. Join and share or just come to observe.

*Online Registration Required

Thoughtful Readers Gathering

When: Sun., April 7

Where: Zoom

Time: 5 p.m.-6 p.m.

* Registration is required for all online Thoughtful Readers Gatherings. All online Thoughtful Readers Gatherings take place on Zoom. A paid registration is available.

Thoughtful Readers Gatherings™, a new series of author conversations to connect writer and spiritual director Charlotte Donlon’s growing audience of thoughtful readers and writers with good books and nourishing conversations.

The event layout is as follows:

  • 15-minute conversation to focus on the guest author’s reading and writing life.
  • 30-minute conversation about the book with an 8-minute reading, a 10-minute conversation with me (questions provided ahead of time), and 5-10 minutes of Q&A

Janice Harrington at The Alabama Library Association Conference

When: Fri., April 12

Where: Homewood Public Library

1721 Oxmoor Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209

Time: 12 p.m.-2 p.m.

MCPF is proud to bring Alabama native, poet, librarian, and children’s Author Janice Harrington to Birmingham to feature at the Alabama Library Association Conference. In this lunch and learn, Harrington will talk about her life and love of books, and how that love of reading has blossomed into a fruitful career! Attendees of this luncheon will need to register with the Alabama Library Association Conference.

Poetry at the Museum

When: Sat., April 13

Where: Birmingham Museum of Art

2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203

Time: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Each year, MCPF brings poetry alive in unlikely places like public parks, national monuments, and this year, for the first time, at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Poetry at the Museum, sponsored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and Yelp, will feature four local poets who will share work related to visual art. There are two attendance options this year: the Yelp Community Experience and Free General Admission.

The Yelp Community Experience begins at 1pm and features a reading by Yelp’s sponsored poet, Birmingham Poet Laureate Salaam Green, and local poets Kanou Julien, Miriam Calleja, and Lauren Slaughter. Yelpers, meaning anyone with a Yelp account, will receive a special gift after checking in on the event page. If you do not have a free Yelp account, quickly create one here.

For regular admission to our 2pm or 3pm tour, please register at the regular admission link and arrive at 2pm or 3pm to attend one of the two other tours.

*Regular Free and Paid Yelp Community Experience Admission

Zines and Poetry: Making a Tiny Book with Alina Stefanescu

When: Wed., April 17,

Where: Zoom

Time: 6 p.m.

In structural conditions that narrow what gets published, whether by political systems that legislate repressive ideologies against free speech or by economic structures that prevent critical and system-challenging work from being published, the zine works from a tradition of grassroots publishing. The zine isn’t working to get into the elite circles (though sometimes it does): the zine is working to speak, to say, to share, and to imagine power differently.

In this zine-making workshop, join MCPF board member, celebrated writer, and poet Alina Stefanescu as you endeavor to make your very own zine. Supplies needed: white paper (printer or otherwise), a writing utensil, glue, and optional collage materials (magazines, etc).

*Free Online Registration

Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Salaam Green to Host a Public Reading From Her New Chapbook 

When: Thur., April 18

Where: Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place.

Time: 5:30 p.m.

The City of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Salaam Green will host a public reading of her new chapbook, “Once Upon a Magic City.”

“Poetry preserves a people and a place,” Green said. “’Once Upon a Magic City’ was born from the many stories the city holds. I hope as readers engage with the book and that they begin to experience the healing power of words and begin to dream again about the promise of Birmingham.”

Green began her two-year term as Birmingham inaugural poet laureate in January 2024.

Green’s upcoming chapbook will include poems “Freedom Call,” “Birmingham Where the World Belongs,” “Healing is at Hand,” “Little Girls of Birmingham,” and many others. Attendees will receive a complimentary special edition copy, which will include journal prompts.

Local visual artist Micah Briggs was commissioned to design the book’s cover. An unveiling of the cover will take place on that evening. Free posters will be available.

For more information about the Poet Laureate program and the event, visit birminghamal.gov/poet.

Freedom Poetry Salon

When: Fri., April 19

Where: Home of Charlotte Donlon

Time: 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

This salon, hosted at the home of Charlotte Donlon, will provide space and time for poets, musicians, all artists to share work in an open-mic style.

Beverages and snacks will be provided by Church Street Coffee & Books.

*Registration is required, as space is limited. Location and parking instructions will be sent directly to registrants 24 hours before the event. Please contact Charlotte at charlotte@charlottedonlon.com if you have any questions.

Return to Wonderment: Poetry and Jazz with Thandiwe Shiprah and Daniel Arite- East Village

When: Sat., April 20

Where: East Village Arts

7611 1st Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35206

Time: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

Return to Wonderment, is a performance collage of live jazz and poetry that honors humanity’s connection to Earth and highlights ways to deepen our rapport with nature and our commitment to ecological renewal. It features Daniel’s original compositions and new arrangements of jazz standards tailored to Thandiwe’s rhythmic recitations of poems and popular song lyrics. In a varied mix of solos and duets — interwoven with illuminating video images — this evening’s length performance creates an inspiring space for refreshing the mind, listening to the heart, and celebrating the beauty and wonder of our shared home.

For Colored Girls with Joi Miner

When: Fri., April 26

Where: Miles College

5500 Myron Massey Boulevard Fairfield, AL 35064

Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

America’s Next Great Author winner, poet and novelist Joi Miner will revive her production of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking choreopoem, for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf. This is MCPF’s first theatrical event, and we’re excited to share it with our community.

*Free Online Registration

Poetry at the Monument

When: Sat., April 27

Where: St. Paul’s UME Church

1500 6th Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203

Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Each year, MCPF brings poetry alive in unlikely places like public parks, national monuments, and this year, we will reprise our popular Poetry at the Monument event. Poetry at the Monument, sponsored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and hosted at the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, will feature three local poets who will share work related to civil rights and social justice.

*Free Admission, Online Registration Required

Poetry to the People: A Community Event Featuring Salaam Green

When: Tues., April 30

Where: Birmingham Public Library

2100 Park Place Birmingham, AL 35203

Time:  5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Green will present a scholarly literature/history lecture and discussion: Poetry to the People: Historical Narratives of Poetry’s Powerful Influence on Justice and the Legacy of Civil Rights in Birmingham. As part of this scholarly lecture, Salaam will read from recent works on the lecture theme. This open-to-the-public, free event will be presented in the first-floor space at the Birmingham Public Library located at 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama. Guests will receive eco-friendly pencils and thought journals to take notes and write questions—encouraging participation in the Question/Answer portion of the program.

*Free Admission, Online Registration Required