Founded in 1997, The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College has a core mission to bring poets of national and international stature to campus to inspire students and the Smith community. All events are free and open to the public. See the News, Events & Community page to keep up-to-date on our current season and announcements.
Explore the Poetry Center
Blackout Poetry Project
This community project offers a chance to interact with and reinterpret Emily Post's rules of etiquette. Participants will engage with her iconic work, updating her rules using new media and visual expression to say something entirely new. After each stunning, idiosyncratic, vibrant, haunting or hilarious page is made, we will gather them into a new collection of poetry and art that could only have been made by our community.
Current Season Poets
Nine Syllables Press
About the Press
Nine Syllables Press is a chapbook press created in partnership with the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College. We seek to address ongoing inequity in the publishing world by providing a new platform for systematically excluded voices, including but not limited to women, BIPOC poets, and trans/LGBTQIA++ poets. 9SP honors and continues the long tradition of poets and poetry at Smith, including Sylvia Plath ‘55 while extending that community to the other Seven Sisters colleges and beyond.
9SP believes chapbooks are whole books, not just abbreviations. We love books as art objects themselves, as well as the words inside them. Each summer, we hold a chapbook contest, open to all who identify as women. In our first summer contest, we received over 290 submissions.
9SP is currently the only press at a historic women’s college in the US.
Students in PYX/BKX 202 & 203 get publishing and design experience that can go on their resumes. In the fall semester, PYX/BKX 202 students read the chapbook submissions, learn about the publishing industry, and narrow down the submissions to a top 10, which get sent on to our final judge. In 2023, that judge is Leila Chatti. The winning poet will give a reading at Smith College and receive a $500 prize, in addition to the publication of their chapbook.
In the spring semester, PYX/BKX 203 students learn about book design. Each student creates an interior design and cover design for the winning chapbook, one of which may get chosen and used for the printed book. In spring ‘23, Smithie Amelia Burton created the design for our first printed volume, an anthology of nine contemporary poets titled My Hand Holding Tight My Other Hand: Women Poets & the Body.
“The Poem I Wish I Had Read” Series
We’re excited to announce the launch of “The Poem I Wish I Had Read,” a video series in which acclaimed poets discuss and read a single poem that they wish they had encountered as a teenager. In each of these video testimonials, poets talk about who they were as high school students, why reading these poems would have been transformational for them, and how these works altered their sense of what a poem can be. Enjoy the following featured videos, and check out the full series on our YouTube channel.—Matt Donovan
The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center offers a series of fine letterpress broadsides signed by the poets and designed and illustrated by Barry Moser, printer to the college.