For Immediate Release

“My Nose and Me: A TragedyLite or TragiDelight in 33 Scenes”

John Surowiecki’s Prize-winning Verse Drama Debuts at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

January 12, 2009

CHICAGO—The inaugural winner of the Poetry Foundation’s Verse Drama Prize, “My Nose and Me: A TragedyLite or TragiDelight in 33 Scenes,” by John Surowiecki, will make its Chicago debut at a staged reading at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, under the direction of Second City co-founder Bernard Sahlins.

What: A staged reading of “My Nose and Me: A TragedyLite or TragiDelight in 33 Scenes,” by John Surowiecki

When: Monday, February 16, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 East Grand Avenue

Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Please call 312.595.5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com/nose

“Loosely inspired by Gogol's comic masterpiece ‘The Nose,’ master poet John Surowiecki has written a laugh-out-loud gem of a play,” said Sahlins. “In some 30 short, fast-paced scenes, this award-winning work carries us through time and across continents, taking shots at pompous doctors, randy nurses, and intellectual quackery in general while attesting to the unity of our physical constituents—including our noses.”

In 2004 the Poetry Foundation established the Pegasus Awards, a family of new prizes emphasizing under-recognized poets or types of poetry; these prizes include the Neglected Masters Award, the Randall Jarrell Award in Poetry Criticism, the Mark Twain Poetry Award for humor, and most recently the Verse Drama Award.

“Verse drama was the art form of choice for dramatists from ancient Greece to Marlowe and Shakespeare,” said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation. “In modern times, although our major poets have continued to write verse plays (Yeats, Eliot, Frost and Robert Lowell among them), the major dramatists have written in prose. The Poetry Foundation created the Verse Drama Award in order to renew attention, from both poets and the theatergoing public, to this important but under-recognized art form.”

John Surowiecki is the author of Watching Cartoons before Attending a Funeral, The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats, and five chapbooks. He won Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize and has received fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. He makes his home in Connecticut, where he is a freelance writer and teaches poetry courses at Manchester Community College.

Bernard Sahlins co-founded the Second City Theater and the International Theatre Festival of Chicago. He has produced and directed shows in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Toronto. His memoir, Days and Nights at the Second City, appeared from Ivan R. Dee in 2002.

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About the Pegasus Awards
The Poetry Foundation has established a family of prizes with an emphasis on new awards to under-recognized poets and types of poetry. Inaugurated in 2004, the Pegasus Awards are announced annually in the fall. The Poetry Foundation believes that targeted prizes can help redress underappreciated accomplishments, diversify the kinds of poetry being written, and widen the audience for the art form.


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.


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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