Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

Poetry in Action

Image of students writing

Making poetry accessible to a wide audience has always been a part of The 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.

Poetry Center Renga Project

Smith College Renga #1: Voice 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.


Poetry Center Spring 2020 Reading Series

We are sorry to announce that all of our Spring 2020 readings have been cancelled. Please reach out to us at 413-585-4891 or with any questions.—Matt Donovan

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.



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 Smith College Poetry Center, c/o Gift Accounting, Stoddard Annex, 23 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01063. Thank you for your generous support!