Photo By Kim Pedersen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for poets and lovers of poetry, that is. April is National Poetry Month and the Rockford region is bustling with opportunities to take in a poetry reading by one of our fine local writers or, if you’re brave, read your own work at an open mic. The Rockford literary scene—what I’ve affectionately dubbed the Rockford literati—is experiencing what some have called a renaissance, thanks in large part to the success of award-winning independent bookstore Maze Books in downtown Rockford, and a band of local poets and writers supporting each other at every turn. Yet, our region has always been rich in literary culture and activity, and those that have been in the area a long time know that well.

Jenna Goldsmith Headshot
Photo by Kristin Steinke

As City Poet Laureate, I encourage everybody in the region to engage with National Poetry Month in some way, even if poetry isn’t your thing. Stop into Maze Books and pick up your copy of Revolution: A Rockford Area Writers Anthology. Check out a poetry book from the Rockford Public Library. Or get in on the conversation by posting a favorite poem of yours to social media using the hashtag #NationalPoetryMonth. Poetry is for everybody! And we are so lucky to have it in abundance in the Rockford region. 

Upcoming Poetry Events

Rock Valley College VOICES Celebrates National Poetry Month
April 3, 5-6 p.m.
Rock Valley College
Sarah Etlinger and Jenna Goldsmith will read poetry. 

Café RPL Presents: FORMS!
April 12, 6 p.m.
Nordlof Center
Listen to local poets read their poetry. Coffee provided by Rockford Roasting Company.

National Poetry Month Reading and Open Mic at Inscape Collective
April 12, 6 - 8 p.m.
Inscape Collective
Local poets will read poetry during this public open mic night. 

Pizza & Poetry

Pizza + Poetry
April 15, 6:30 p.m.
Local poets and writers are invited to read their works. 

Rockford Certified Slam
April 18, 6 - 8 p.m.
Nordlof Center
Local writers read their works. This event is free and open to the public. 

Rockford Writers’ Guild Hosts Jenna Goldsmith
April 21, 1 p.m.
Zoom – email for link
Jenna Goldsmith will join the Rockford Writers Guild to discuss poetry and read some works. This event is free and open to the public, but attendees must email Sally for the Zoom link.

Poetry Slam
April 30, 6 p.m.
Jefferson High School
Youth poets from around the region will read their poetry.  The admission cost is free.

Click here to read Jenna’s poem “At The Watertower”
Or visit her website at