Favorite Poem Project: Chicago

A partnership between The Poetry Foundation and the Favorite Poem Project, The Favorite Poem Project: Chicago is pleased to announce the release of six new Favorite Poem videos. Like the original 50 videos—a vivid legacy of Robert Pinsky’s signature project as US Poet Laureate (1997-2000)—these brief new documentaries present a poem and a reader.
 
The original mission of the Favorite Poem Project, part of the national Millennial Celebration, included “a portrait of the Unites States through the lens of poetry.” These new videos extend that project, but also present a portrait of the city of Chicago.
 
Late last year, the Poetry Foundation invited residents of “the city of big shoulders” to share their favorite poems and to speak about their personal significance. From hundreds of submissions, the Favorite Poem Project and The Poetry Foundation chose the favorite poems of six Chicagoans.
 
Directed by Juanita Anderson, who also directed the original fifty videos, the new mini-documentaries include Mayor Rahm Emanuel reading Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago,” along with  high school custodian Tom Moran reading and discussing Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking” and museum curator Naomi Beckwith reading and discussing Gwendolyn Brooks’ “Children of the Poor.”
 
Over the next few years, The Poetry Foundation and the Favorite Poem Project hope to proceed to more videos, representing other specific cities and locales.


Samantha Kyrkostas & Charles A. "Dockie" Schlegel
"When You Are Old" by William Butler Yeats

Hana Bajramovic
"The Idea of Order at Key West" by Wallace Stevens

Naomi Beckwith
"The Children of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

Tom Moran
"The Waking" by Theodore Roethke

Kurt Sepmeier
"Since There's No Help" by Michael Drayton

About the Favorite Poem Project
The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997. During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project volunteering to share their favorite poems—Americans from ages 5 to 97, from every state, of diverse occupations and backgrounds. From those letters emerged several enduring collections: three anthologies and 50 mini-documentaries, which are available for viewing at favoritepoem.org.
 

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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