The Poetry Foundation aims to make poetry more accessible. Led by a staff accessibility task force, we are working towards expanding our accessibility practices to make our spaces welcoming for all.
Our accessibility offerings include:
Accommodations in our in-person spaces, like our library and performance space
Offering virtual spaces like online events and recordings and accessible content on our website.
See below for routes within our building and details about Poetry Foundation’s accommodation offerings and accessibility initiatives. During your visit, you can also talk to anyone from our Guest Experience team; they're more than happy to help you navigate. We can also be reached during business hours at 312-787-7070.
Admission to the Poetry Foundation and our events is always free of charge.
We provide live captioning for all public events. You will see a CC icon on all event pages that offer captions. Virtual event captioning is accessed through the CC icon at the bottom of the Zoom screen. In-person event captioning is viewable on a large monitor at the front of the room or on your own device. Ask us about this at the front desk.
Portable listening devices are available at any time.
There is a hand icon on all event pages that offer ASL interpreters. If you would like to request an ASL interpreter for workshops, tours, or other programs, you can email: [email protected]
Braille copies of Poetry magazine are available by request from the Library of Congress by calling 800-424-8567.
Service animals are welcome in our space; pets are not.
If you would like to inquire about or request additional accommodations for your visit, please contact: [email protected]
Navigating Our Building
There is one entrance to the Poetry Foundation through a courtyard behind a gray wall exterior. Approach from the corner of Superior and Dearborn. There are two steps up from the sidewalk to the courtyard or a gently sloped ramp entrance on the Dearborn side of the corner. In the courtyard, walk straight between the trees and then make a left turn to the front door.
If the front door is locked, ring the buzzer to the left of the door, and you will be let in. The front door is also equipped with an automatic open button.
Once you are inside, your first stop will be to sign in at the reception desk with a member of our guest experience team. We are happy to help you navigate the building and answer any questions you may have.
All of our public spaces are on the first floor.
The library is to the right of the main entrance. Most poetry books are on the first floor, but additional books are upstairs on a second mezzanine level. This level is only accessible by stairs within the library (not the stairs in the main lobby). Our staff is happy to help you retrieve any books.
Our exhibition space is to the left of the reception desk. You can view exhibition details here. Ask our Guest Experience team for more information about what’s on display.
If you keep going through the exhibition space, you’ll arrive at the performance space, separated by a double door. This space is open for readings and other public events. Our events are listed on our website and free to attend with registration.
Live events often use a combination of theater lights and overhead lights, with partially dimmed lighting over the audience. Most events are amplified by a microphone, and portable listening devices are available upon request to connect directly to our sound system. Chairs with and without arms are available, as are reserved accessibility spots, including room for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. You can contact our events team to make accessibility requests about sensory or seating arrangements.
We invite guests to treat the performance space as a relaxed physical environment. Please do what you need for your body and mind to be more at ease. If you need to go to the bathroom, get water, or step away, feel free to come and go as needed.
Need a break? In between the two doors to the performance space, there is a small green room. If it is not occupied (indicated by an occupancy sign on the door), you can use this private, low-sensory space for food, drink, nursing, phone calls, or rest.
If you make a right turn at the end of the exhibition space, there is a hallway with restrooms and water fountains. Along the right-hand side of the hallway, there are multi-stall women’s and men’s restrooms. A single-occupancy, all-gender restroom is located behind the set of doors at the end of the hall.