Chicago’s Poetry Foundation is an underrated public cultural center that you need to add to your list of museum must-sees. Located at the corner of Superior and Dearborn Streets in River North, the foundation houses a garden, a 30,000-volume library and much more. Here are 5 of our favorite things about the Poetry Foundation:

 

 

1.  Cool Exhibits

Gwendolyn Brooks

The foundation hosts in their gallery space exhibits that change each month. The current exhibit, which opens June 16 and runs through August 25, is Matter in the Margins: Gwendolyn Brooks at 100. Brooks was the Illinois Poet Laureate and first black winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The exhibit displays highlights from her literary archive, including correspondence, manuscripts and ephemera. And don't miss these two events associated with the exhibit:

Exhibition Opening and Gallery Talk with curator Anna Chen
Friday, June 16, 6 p.m.

Riding and Striding, Reaching and Teaching: A Short Film of a Day in the Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
Wednesday, June 28, Noon

 

 

2.  Free Events

The foundation offers events and workshops that are typically free and open to the public. Hear from a famous poet, or learn how to write some poetry of your own. There’s a performance room in the building that has the capacity for up to 125 guests. It was specifically designed with acoustics that complement voice readings. Check out the complete schedule of programming here.

 

 

3.  A Courtyard Garden

courtyard surrounded by glass walls, a few trees

The garden is the first room you’ll see after entering the building. During spring and summer months, it’s a public space where you can relax and read in the sun. Events are also often held in the garden.

 

 

4.  The 30,000-Volume Poetry Library

Just as you've probably suspected, poetry is the main attraction at the Poetry Foundation. In fact, it’s the only library in the Midwest that’s completely dedicated to poetry. In addition to print volumes, the library also has private listening booths where you can listen to poetic audio recordings. Delve into your research in the reading room.

 

 

5.  Exquisite Architecture

Exterior view of Poetry Foundation building at dusk

Even if you’re not into poetry, you can still appreciate the beautifully design of the building. The foundation, which opened its doors in 2011, was designed by John Ronan Architects. Floor-to-ceiling glass gives view to the building’s interior courtyard garden and the surrounding city.

The Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior Street
(312) 787-7070
 

The Poetry Foundation is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check the calendar for holidays or other closures. Learn more about the foundation at poetryfoundation.org.