For Immediate Release
New series of poetry films premieres online, on public television, and on transit systems
March 20, 2008
An innovative effort to introduce new audiences to a wide selection of great contemporary and classic poetry, the Poetry Everywhere films are intended to add a moment of introspection, wonder—even revelation—to the life of a harried commuter, a television viewer, online surfer, or a young child who has yet to encounter poetry. Using a variety of production approaches, the project features films of poets reading their own work, animated interpretations of much-loved poems, and celebrities reading personal favorites.
Seventeen of the Poetry Everywhere films, produced by WGBH/Boston and David Grubin Productions in association with the Poetry Foundation, begin airing April 1 on television and online. The films feature the work of acclaimed poets such as Adrienne Rich, current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, Sharon Olds, Yusef Komunyakaa, Robert Frost, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, and Seamus Heaney. The series also includes actress Mary Louise Parker reading a poem by Mark Strand, playwright Tony Kushner reading Walt Whitman, and musician Wynton Marsalis reading W.B. Yeats.
In addition, 15 animated Poetry Everywhere films created by students working with docUWM, a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the university’s creative writing program, in association with the Poetry Foundation, will debut online and on Transit TV throughout the coming months. Aiming to focus a new generation of filmmakers on poetry as subject matter, the project encouraged film students to read widely from the canon of contemporary poetry and, working closely with poets and scholars, effectively translate poetry to the screen using an array of film and animation techniques. The docUWM films feature a wide range of contemporary poems and poets, including Lucille Clifton’s “mulberry fields,” Robert Creeley’s “The Language,” and Lyn Hejinian’s “Eleven Eyes.” The student portion of the project was supervised by Liam Callanan, a creative writing professor at the UW-Milwaukee School of Letters and Science, and Brad Lichtenstein, a Peck School of the Arts film instructor.
Visitors to Poetry Everywhere on the PBS website will find links to the Poetry Foundation’s website, www.poetryfoundation.org, that enable them to read the text of the featured poems, as well as biographies and more work by the poets, and to further explore poetry as a whole. In addition, selected poems will be featured in a special multimedia collection on the Teachers’ Domain website, www.teachersdomain.org, which will include video, background essays, strategies for teaching the poems, and sample lesson plans.
A full list of poems included in the Poetry Everywhere series is attached. For additional information on the program and partners, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.
docUWM is a documentary media center based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts’ Film Department that produces and presents documentary and media work of all kinds.
About David Grubin Productions
David Grubin Productions has produced over 100 films on subjects ranging from history to art, from poetry to science. As a producer, writer, and director, David Grubin has won every major award in his field, including two duPont-Columbia awards, three Peabodys, and nine Emmys. Widely acclaimed for his biographies of American presidents, Grubin most recently produced The Jewish Americans, a six-hour documentary following 350 years of Jewish American history, for PBS. Additional information is available at www.grubin.com.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards, and even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information, visit www.wgbh.org.
About Transit TV
Transit TV’s network of nearly 9000 television screens can be seen on nearly 4000 transit vehicles by 11 million weekly viewers, creating one of the largest digital out-of-home networks in North America and the largest specifically targeting transit riders. Transit TV is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, Toronto, Canada. Torstar Corporation is a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B).
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, 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. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.
Poetry Everywhere Poem List
1. Coleman Barks – selections from Rumi (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
2. Lucille Clifton – “won’t you celebrate with me” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
3. Billy Collins – “The Lanyard” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
4. Emily Dickinson – “I started early ...” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
5. Robert Frost – “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
6. Robert Hass – Issa Haikus (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
7. Seamus Heaney – “Black-Berry Picking” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
8. Marie Howe – “The Gate” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
9. Yusef Komunyakaa – “Facing It” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
10. Stanley Kunitz – “Touch Me” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
11. Philip Levine – “Belle Isle, 1949” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
12. Sharon Olds – “I Go Back to May, 1937” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
13. Adrienne Rich – “What Kind of Times Are These” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
14. Charles Simic – “Stone” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
15. Mark Strand – “Lines for Winter” (read by Mary Louise Parker) (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
16. Walt Whitman – excerpt from “A Passage to India” (read by Tony Kushner) (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
17. W.B. Yeats – “The Wild Old Wicked Man” (read by Wynton Marsalis) (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
18. Agha Shahid Ali – “Snowmen” (docUWM)
19. John Ashbery – “Paradoxes and Oxymorons” (docUWM)
20. Maxine Chernoff – “Lost and Found” (docUWM)
21. Lucille Clifton – “mulberry fields” (docUWM)
22. Robert Creeley – “The Language” (docUWM)
23. Kwame Dawes – “Tornado Child” (docUWM)
24. Rhina Espaillat – “Weighing In” (docUWM)
25. Maurice Kilwein Guevara – “Doña Josefina Counsels Doña Concepción Before Entering Sears” (docUWM)
26. Matthea Harvey – “Shiver & You Have Weather” (docUWM)
27. Robert Hayden – “Those Winter Sundays” (docUWM)
28. Lyn Hejinian – “Eleven Eyes” (docUWM)
29. Jane Hirshfield – “The Heat of Autumn” (docUWM)
30. John Koethe – “Chester” (docUWM)
31. Wislawa Szymborska – “Advertisement” (docUWM)
32. Richard Wilbur – “Some Words Inside of Words” (docUWM)
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