April 23 – The "Shakespeare Quartercentenary", the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare falling around this date, is celebrated throughout the year in lecture series, exhibitions, dramatic and musical programs and other events as well as special publications (Shakespeare issues and supplements), reprinting of standard works on the playwright and poet, and the issue of commemorative postage stamps. The American Association of Advertising Agencies suggests that Shakespeare quotations should be used in advertisements. Celebrations of various kinds occur in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and elsewhere. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust opens the Shakespeare Centre, housing its library and research facilities, in Stratford-upon-Avon (England).
June – The 75th birthday of Anna Akhmatova, who was severely persecuted during the Stalin era, is celebrated around this time with special observances and the publication of new collections of her verse.
December – Poetry Australia literary magazine founded.
John Berryman's 77 Dream Songs, published this year, wins the 1965 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
Russian poet Joseph Brodsky is convicted of "parasitism" in a Soviet court, which sends him into exile near the Arctic Circle.
Among the many books of poetry published this year, Robert Lowell's For the Union Dead is greeted with particular acclaim. The book is received with "general jubilation" from critics, according to Raymond Walters Jr., associate editor of the New York Times Book Review. "These verses [...] convinced many observers that its author was now the pre-eminent U.S. poet."
A surprise best-seller in the United Kingdom is John Lennon's In His Own Write, a compendium of nonsense poems, sketches and drawings by one of the Beatles.
The publication in the United Kingdom of The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence in two volumes is "a major publishing event of 1964".