You don't have to know iambic pentameter from haiku to appreciate poetry's art form and heartfelt message. Open since 2011, the Poetry Foundation's contemporary, environmentally friendly Chicago center welcomes visitors to browse a sunny library shelving 30,000 noncirculating volumes by internationally renowned poets (3,000 works in the children's section alone). Guests can also surf the foundation’s award-winning website at high-tech computer stations and listen to readings in its recording studios. Free Poetry Off the Shelf performances, year-round guided Chicago Poetry Tours and children's scavenger hunts provide additional enticements to visit.
The Poetry Foundation (publisher of century-old Poetry magazine established in Chicago by Harriet Monroe) is the Midwest's only poetry library open to the public. The collection—formerly housed at the Newberry Library—contains all verse ever submitted to the nation's oldest, continuously published English language poetry monthly, including important first works by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and Carl Sandburg. The library is open Monday through Friday; admission is free.