For Immediate Release
THE POETRY FOUNDATION LAUNCHES COMPREHENSIVE ONLINE POETRY ARCHIVE
New site promotes access to the world's great poetry and strengthens the Poetry Foundation's commitment to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture
January 26, 2006
Through the new Web site, the Poetry Foundation seeks to celebrate and share the best classical and contemporary poetry with a broad and diverse audience, from the devoted poetry reader to the casual one. At the core of the new site is an extensive archive of poetry, including poetry and essays from back issues of Poetry magazine (now in its 94th year of continuous publication). At launch the archive will include more than 3,000 poems by over 300 poets. All of the site's content, including the poetry archive, is accessible free of charge.
"Poetry arises out of the need to engage life in some primary way, to deal with the world which is given to us and to which we are given," said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation.
"This Web site is intended to be a major addition to the expanding universe of people who go to the Internet for that engagement."
PoetryFoundation.org's spirited and provocative editorial content, presented in text, audio, and visual formats, includes:
- The archive, a database consisting of more than 300 poets and 3,000 poems continually updated and expanded
- The Poetry Tool, a user-friendly interface to the database that helps people find content by poem (category, occasion, title, etc.), poet (name, time period, geography, etc.), articles (culture, news, publishing, etc.), and audio/visuals (readings, interviews, posters, etc.)
- Magazine-style features on poets, poetry, and culture
- Reading guides by critics, poets, and teachers introducing poems and poets to curious readers
- Poetry publishing industry news, such as best seller lists and interviews with booksellers
- News about poetry, including reviews of readings and a weekly live blog
- Exclusive content from Poetry magazine including book reviews, articles, and letters
- Key announcements, initiatives, awards, and events from the Poetry Foundation
The editorial content of the site will be informed by breaking news, publishing industry events, cultural and aesthetic debates, and holidays. The premiere issue features Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor, NPR essayist Elaine Segal, and a pastor in Iowa on why people turn to poetry. In February, PoetryFoundation.org will explore the way poetry influences, and is influenced by, other art forms, including film, dance, and the visual arts, in essays by Frank Bidart, W.S. Di Piero, Meghan O'Rourke, Wendy Lesser, and Mary Jo Bang. The essays explore the topic as it relates to poems in the archive by Frank O'Hara, Robert Browning, Barbara Guest, William Matthews, Elizabeth Alexander, C.D. Wright, and John Ashbery. In honor of Valentine's Day, the issue will also feature love poems by Ted Kooser, Carol Muske-Dukes, and Langston Hughes.
"We think of our archive as an anthology that is continually updated by editors, critics, and by readers as they search, read, and comment on what they find," said Emily Warn, the Poetry Foundation's Web editor. "Over time, we hope to build an essential collection of poetry that will be useful to a wide audience, from the poetry scholar to the occasional poetry reader, and from the fans of formal and free verse to those of language poetry."
In addition to the launch of its new Web site, the Poetry Foundation continues to expand the universe of poetry readers by developing new audiences through various projects and programs.
Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest
Created by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), "Poetry Out Loud" encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poems. "Poetry Out Loud" invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. Starting in early 2006, hundreds of schools in each state capital region will participate in classroom and schoolwide contests, advancing to state competitions in April 2006. On May 16, 2006, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation will host the "Poetry Out Loud" National Finals in Washington, DC. Over $100,000 in prizes and scholarships will be awarded.
American Life in Poetry
American Life in Poetry provides newspapers with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. Created by U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, American Life in Poetry reaches approximately 1.5 million readers every week.
Poetry magazine presents the best new poetry written by distinguished poets and actively seeks out exciting work by young writers. The magazine also features prose on issues related to poetry and contemporary culture, including criticism, personal essays, reviews, exchanges, and other specially-commissioned articles.
Poetry in America
The Poetry Foundation recently conducted the first-ever telephone survey designed to find out where poetry stands in American culture. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago surveyed more than 1,000 adult readers about their perceptions of poetry. The survey findings will be published and made available free of charge on PoetryFoundation.org in March 2006.
About The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. One of the largest literary organizations in the world, it exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. Upon receipt of a major gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, evolving from the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941. The Poetry Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.