Visit the Library
Sat, 11:00 am–6:00pm
Map & Directions
A national archive of 50,000 volumes of poetry that is free and open to the public, the Reed Foundation Library at Poets House includes books, chapbooks, literary journals and the Axe-Houghton Multimedia Archive. It is the largest and most comprehensive independent poetry collection available to the public in open stacks anywhere in the country.
At Poets House, poets and poetry lovers can read, work on their computers using free WiFi, listen to poetry on tape, watch poetry video, view art exhibitions or attend a workshop or reading. An extensive network of support services includes reference materials, low-cost photocopying and the help of a professional staff. An active bulletin board and material from literary organizations around the country make Poets House a clearinghouse for information about poetry and poetry resources.
Extent of the Collection
Focusing on contemporary American poetry, the collection seeks to include all books of poetry published in the United States during the past two decades; the greatest possible range of poetry published during the last century (in English or in bilingual editions); and representative volumes of the poetry of all times and places.
Special Collections–Literary Journals
One of the first things a visitor to Poets House sees is our extensive, ongoing, revolving display of current literary journals. At Poets House, one can find thousands of literary journals, many of them in complete runs, some of them dating back to the early part of the 20th century. For information on how to donate a literary journal, click here.
One of the most comprehensive and various chapbook collections available anywhere can be found at Poets House. It includes early work by some of the best known poets writing today, mature work not yet published in book form, and the first publications of emerging writers from around the country. The chapbook collection is a miniature laboratory of poetry production, including everything from homemade booklets to fine arts press publications.
The Axe-Houghton Multimedia Archive, located in the Frank Platt Listening Center, is a substantive gathering of voices drawn from recordings of more than 20 years of programming at Poets House, as well as live events spanning the last century from a range of literary venues. Historic recordings feature a range of poetic luminaries including W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Robert Creeley, E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, Carl Sandburg and many more. The archive also includes videos; rare LPs from the Library of Congress; and priceless recordings from the private reel-to-reel collections of the late Stanley Kunitz and Elizabeth Kray. Visitors to Poets House's new home in Battery Park City can also explore our vast audio archive using Poets House iPods, a digital exhibition that reflects the broad spectrum of poetry recorded over the last century.