World Poetry Day 2022: The Poetry of Healing

Poem by Emily Dickinson on top left and orange bird on hand in bottom right corner.

Celebrated every year on the 21st of March, World Poetry Day was adopted by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999 as a celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity. As an ode to this beautiful art form, McGill’s Department of English launched its Poetry Reading Series for 2022: Fluid Vessels. Showcasing the work of remarkable voices from the British Isles, India, Nigeria, Australia, Jamaica, the U.S., and Canada, this series allows poetry lovers to interact with the artists who are running for The Montreal International Poetry Prize.

In November of 2017, McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office (SEDE) and the Sustainable Projects Fund (SPF) held a workshop on Poetry as a Tool for Healing and Joy, with Ontario-born poet and spoken word artist Brandon Wint.

This year, we urge you to bring back these echoes from the past, to celebrate poetry not only as a source of individual and cultural expression and diversity but as a tool for comfort and healing. That the past few years have been difficult for all is an understatement, but that they have entwined the global community together through common  threads of vulnerability is a plain truth. 

Poetry has placed itself front and centre as both our armour and our ointment during the past years. In 2020, We Are the Dream, an HBO documentary about Oakland’s youngest oratorical poets, took home an Emmy. Brandon Leake, a Stockton spoken-word poet, won NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” And poet laureates from California to New York have found a new calling, posting verses to comfort families grappling with pandemic fears and fighting against racial injustice (Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News). 

Image credit: kanopy

Contrary to The Love Poem by Carol Ann Duffy, we believe that everything has not been said by everyone, we have not run out of words. As the hardships of the time change the climate of our surroundings, people, as always, and with a strikingly sincere ability have found novel ways to express love and hope. We have found new ways to heal, and we have made sure to tell the world that it takes more than turbulent times and lockdowns to break us.

Then why read poetry, if one were to ask, we would have a plain but determined answer to give you. Because we need to heal, because there is a part of us that is looking to connect to a world beyond ours, to find comfort in the rustle of pages and answers in the middle of lines. Because all of us have gone through something together, and though it has only brought us closer, and stronger than ever. We deserve to heal. 

Immerse yourself within the world of poetry by diving into some of the many pages of verse that exist within the McGill Library.

Redpath Book Display: We Don’t Talk About Bruno, No, No, NO!

A seven-foot frame
Rats along his back
When he calls your name
It all fades to black
Yeah, he sees your dreams
And feasts on your screams
♪♪

Does this ring a bell? It sure should, it is only one of the most popular songs of the year! Disney’s We Don’t Talk About Bruno (From “Encanto”) hit the charts soon after its November 2021 release, popularised by its catchy tunes and heavy social media presence.

It seems perfect then, that to bring everyone out of the midterm blues -and to lift the spirits of the ones who have a second-round of midterms lined up- the Humanities and Social Sciences Library (HSSL) brings to you our Mid-March Redpath Book Display, We Don’t Talk About Bruno!

Redpath Book Display shelves filled with books that either have Bruno on their covers or as an author.
Check out our display in the Redpath Library hallway on the main floor!

Presenting a diverse collection of books hand-picked from various disciplines such as Art, Architecture, Anthropology and many more, this display is dedicated to talking about Bruno!

We have always been ones to throw caution to the wind, no? So let’s take this chance and talk about Bruno! Spare a few moments to check out our quirky display between study sessions and acquaint yourself with the Brunos that have made their presence known through the years, whether in the titles of our special selection or as their authors!

♪♪ …Don’t talk about Bruno, no! (Why did I talk about Bruno?)
Not a word about Bruno
I never should’ve brought up Bruno!

You can find a full list of the books on display here.

For more information, contact us at hssl.library@mcgill.ca.

Ask Me Anything on Reddit – A Year In Review

On the faithful day of March 11th, 2021, Amanda took to reddit to see what the r/mcgill community were asking. After a tumultuous year full of change, we are reviewing some answers to showcase some of the things that are back at the McGill Library.

Resources

Q: What are the 3 top library resources/services you would recommend a new student at McGill look into?

A: Number one resource I would recommend for new students are the subject guides! Links are available right off the homepage. Each faculty, department, subject, etc. has been broken down into guides that indicate all the best resources to use for research in that area. 

Number two is citation or reference managers. There are tools like Zotero and EndNote which can help you organize your sources, generate citations, and input them into a Word document with ease. This is one of those things that I wish I knew about when I was a student (yes, they’ve been around that long) since it makes your life so much easier.  

Number three is our Ask Us chat service, or just talking to a librarian in general. This was also something I didn’t know you could do as a student. When I went to go find my research, I just assumed I knew everything and didn’t need help, but honestly my search skills were trash! I had no idea what I was doing. If I had just emailed my librarian and asked the best way to find articles in my subject, I probably would have gotten better grades too.  

UPDATE: These three resources are still some of the best starting points and super useful for new students. Since then, we have also create an orientation booklet full with library informations, games, and well-being tips. You can check it out on the orientation page.

Cool Features

Q: What is the coolest library feature students don’t take advantage of?

A: In a similar question I mentioned more of our services so for this one, I had the help of our Outreach Assistants to pick out some of the coolest places in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library that you can take advantage of when we reopen!

First, the Zen Room! It’s tucked away on the 6th floor of the McLennan next to the washrooms.

The McLennan 4th floor Visual Arts Collection is accessible and beautiful – perfect for a study break!

And if you need to blow of steam, there are stationary bikes on the main floor of Redpath.

UPDATE: Firstly, while majority of the library is open the zen room remains closed! You can find updates by checking out the page. The 4th floor Visual Arts Collection is open and the chains in front of the art are great places to relax. Lastly, the Innovation Commons is back in action with an all new One-Button Studio. To learn more read our latest blog post.

Book Loans

Q: Can I check out a physical book from McLennan?

UPDATE: Our book loaning services are back to normal! Simply find the book you would like to take out by wandering through the stacks or requesting a pick-up and take it to the front desk or one of our self-checkout machines.

Study Pods

Q: If you were a student at McGill, which library would you study at? I have a few favourites, but I’m curious what yours would be!

A: Personally, I’d probably study at the Music Library. I love those comfy chairs that face the window out onto Sherbrooke. That’s exactly the kind of place I would curl up for the day. I checked in with our Outreach Assistants on this though, since my ideal study spot is my couch 😛 They vote for the Humanities and Social Sciences Library (aka McLennan-Redpath Building) since it’s got that community feel and easy access to the café! They both miss those bookable study pods, and I can’t blame them. 

UPDATE: A year later our study pods are back open! You can book a room on the reservation website. The Music library, especially with the sun coming out more often, is an awesome space to get that Vitamin D while studying with it’s wonderful windows.

Fun Things to Access

Q: What cool things are there in the library that students do not generally know about and how might they access them (in an imaginary world where the pandemic is over).

A:

Okay I could probably go on and on about a bunch, so I’ve picked 4 for your viewing pleasure today! 

Our Digital Scholarship Hub launched pre-pandemic, but we never got to have an official opening for the space. In addition to a designated hub, there are experts who can help you on subjects like text analysis, data mining, data visualization, scholarly publishing, research data management, and more! 

The Innovation Commons (formerly Research Commons) is also adding some cool new features for when we return to the library, like a one-button studio so you can record content. 

The Book Arts Laboratory is in our Rare Books and Special Collections department. They have two functional printing presses. I made a card for my mother on one of them and it was gorgeous!  

Oh! And don’t forget about that Seed Library over on the MacDonald Campus, which helps to offer seeds and other gardening resources to our McGill Community.  

UPDATE: The Digital Scholarship Hub is now open! You can check out their spaces, resources and events on their website.


Thanks for going down memory lane with us! If you have any other questions about what has changed in the library email hssl.library@mcgill.ca