Tour Our Space
Poets House’s new eco-friendly building, an 11,000-square-foot space at the base of the Riverhouse condominium tower, was designed by architect Louise Braverman. It is more than double the size of the former home of Poets House at 72 Spring Street in SoHo, which housed the collection for nearly 20 years.
The distinctive double-height entrance features a welcoming lobby and floating second floor, glass-walled Cheney Chappell Exhibition Space. The lobby also boasts a mobile by artist Alexander Calder.On loan from the Calder Foundation, this unpainted mobile of sheet metal and wire reflects and scatters beams of light.
Constance Laibe Hays Children's Room
The Children's Room offers a place for children to read and write poetry, attend unique performances and participate in making art, music and dance as they play with words. Every object in the room is unique and intended to promote thought and association. Children can also compose on old-fashioned manual typewriters (a surprise favorite among the digital generation) or explore a wooden card catalogue that is filled with different objects and related poems to be used as writing prompts.
In addition to workshops for children with acclaimed artists and poets, we offer "Tiny Poets Time," a weekly programfor toddlers. The Children's Room is also the headquarters for our free class trip program,which has brought thousands of children from around the city.
The Margo Viscusi Reading Room and Reed Foundation Library
The Margo Viscusi Reading Room, which houses the 50,000-volume Reed Foundation Library, offers comfortable settings for reading, writing and conversation. The Reed Foundation Library functions as one of the nation's most comprehensive, open-stack repository of poetry books. Free to the public, it is one of the few public spaces where poets, poetry lovers and those new to poetry can meet, write, read and cull through archival materials and one-of-a-kind recordings. For the last 19 years, the Annual Poets House Showcase has offered the public an exhibition of every poetry book published within the U.S. over one year, building a collection of contemporary American poetry that is among the most comprehensive in the United States.
Among the treasures housed in the Frank Platt Listening Center of our Library is the Axe-Houghton Multimedia Archive, which includes digital and analog assets, and comprises more than 2,000 distinct items, representing thousands of sound hours and a multitude of poetic voices; many recordings are almost entirely lost to public access except at Poets House. These include a special collection of live radio broadcasts of the 1960s and '70s (Tennessee Williams reading Hart Crane, for example) as well as programs recorded at Poets House.
With a wall of windows overlooking the Hudson River on one side and shelves of poetry on the other, the Reading Room is both cozy and open, making it a comfortable place to read, write or think. The library in furnished, in part, by bequests from renowned poets, so visitors are surrounded by, and in some cases are sitting on, items that belonged to literary figures. Most recently, for example, Poets House was honored to receive the desk of poet ee cummings.For those who wish to use their computers, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the library.
Cheney Chappell Exhibition Space
The Cheney Chappell Exhibition Space is an oval, glass-walled museum-quality gallery funded by poet and artist Kate Cheney Chappell, which is climate-controlled for exhibiting more fragile manuscripts and documents. Vitrines, generously donated by The Leon Levy Foundation, prominently display these rare and unique manuscripts, as well as books and artworks.