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Poetry in Action

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Making poetry accessible to a wide audience has always been a part of The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center’s mission. In addition to special initiatives and facilitating poetry-related collaborations on campus, we regularly offer blocks of reserve seats at our readings to local schools and community groups. We donate a book by each visiting poet to the Northampton High School library, and we offer Smith students assistance with their annual poetry slam. We have collaborated on programming with The Emily Dickinson Museum, Northampton Arts Council, Sustainable Step New England and others.

News & Events

Poetry Center Renga Project

Smith College Renga #1: Voices From Afield

Read the Poetry Center’s first renga, with stanzas contributed from Matt Donovan, Clare O’Gara, Rosetta Cohen, Ira Goga, Floyd Cheung, Arda Collins, Sean Joyce-Farley, Jen Blackburn, Allex Dawn, Bill Hagen, Maggie Olszewski and Ellen Doré Watson. Renga is a Japanese form that originated in the 12th century, and the name means “linked poem.” Its form is collaborative and allows us to communicate across physical distance. In renga, participants only see the stanza that directly precedes their own, so any thematic links that emerge are often surprising and speak to the tone of the times in which the poem is written.


Interview With Director Matt Donovan

If it’s been a while since you’ve come by The Poetry Center to see what we’ve been up to, here is a fantastic interview with our director Matt Donovan in the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

Five College Creative Writing Calendar

Keep up-to-date on creative writing events happening at all of the Five Colleges.

Audio & Video Recordings


In 2009, local writer, teacher and interviewer Christian McEwen proposed that the Poetry Center partner with her in creating “Sparks from the Anvil,” a five-year project aimed at building an audio archive of interviews with poets. Select visiting poet interviews are available and offer lively conversations concerning the poets’ biographies, writing practices, influences and developments in their work, and their sense of the contemporary poetry scene.



When possible, links to the recordings of our current season's readings can be found here. We’ll update the listings the week following each event.

The Poetry Center has hosted hundreds of poets, including more than a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners and five Poets Laureate, as well as poets who are relatively unknown and whose work has been translated from Welsh, Basque, Spanish, Irish, Slovenian, Arabic, Korean and Serbo-Croatian. We have recorded most of the readings, and they are available from Neilson Library (on VHS up to 2006, and on DVD from 2006 onward).


Poetry Resources



Support Our Programming

Every gift helps, whether to fund a visit by a far-flung poet or to support our outreach activities, video and library collection or student staff. Donate online or make checks payable to Smith College and mail to The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College, c/o Gift Accounting, Stoddard Annex, 23 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01063. Thank you for your generous support!