For Immediate Release

Second Season of Poetry Everywhere Debuts

Poetry film series airs online and on public television

March 17, 2009

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to introduce 30 new short films as part of Poetry Everywhere, the poetry film series produced in collaboration with WGBH/Boston and docUWM at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. The films premiere online throughout April, in conjunction with National Poetry Month, on pbs.org, poetryfoundation.org, YouTube, and iTunes. Poetry Everywhere also provides local public television stations with exciting new programming options, as the films are available to show as interstitials during regular broadcasts.

The Poetry Everywhere films not only deliver great contemporary poetry to a wider audience through the provocative and surprising medium of film, but also offer the rewards of poetry itself—the delights of language, a moment of introspection, an opportunity for revelation—in the often frenetic environments of the Internet and television. John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, said, “We are optimistic that if we can reach viewers with the magic of poetry through these media, we can create new readers of poetry.”

This year, Poetry Everywhere welcomes Garrison Keillor, acclaimed writer and host of A Prairie Home Companion, as series narrator of the television spots. Keillor defines a good poem this way: “You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in your brain. There are so many good poems out there, and we want to help people experience them with Poetry Everywhere.”

Produced by David Grubin in association with the Poetry Foundation, the television spots present poets reading their work in a variety of places, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, and celebrities such as Mary Louise Parker and Wynton Marsalis reading their favorite poems. The films feature such acclaimed poets as former poet laureate Ted Kooser, the internationally renowned Naomi Shihab Nye, and captivating crowd-pleaser Kevin Young. David Grubin has noted, “We are all so busy. We are hoping that these poems will give television viewers a reason to pause.”

This year’s additions to Poetry Everywhere also include 22 new animated poetry films created by student filmmakers working with docUWM, a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the university’s writing program. The project, part of the Poetry Foundation’s mission to focus a new generation of filmmakers on poetry as subject matter, encouraged film students to read widely from contemporary poetry and, working closely with poets and scholars, thoughtfully translate poetry to the screen using an array of film and animation techniques. As poets or actors narrate the poems, animators weave the complete texts through the films to develop the relationship between language and visual expression.

These vibrant and enticing animated films showcase the work of a variety of contemporary poets, including seminal American surrealist James Tate, young Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort, Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady, and current poet laureate Kay Ryan.

Visitors to Poetry Everywhere on the Poetry Foundation’s website, poetryfoundation.org, will find the text of the featured poems as well as biographies and more work by the poets. In addition, selected poems are featured in a special multimedia collection on the Teachers’ Domain website, teachersdomain.org, which includes video, background essays, strategies for teaching the poems, and sample lesson plans.

A full list of new poems included in the Poetry Everywhere series is below. For additional information on the program and partners, please visit poetryfoundation.org.

*****

  1. Geoffrey Brock, “And Day Brought Back My Night” (docUWM)
  2. Brenda Cárdenas, “Song” (docUWM)
  3. Rebecca Dunham, “This Is a Letter” (docUWM)
  4. Cornelius Eady, “Nina’s Blues” (docUWM)
  5. Russell Edson, “Let Us Consider” (docUWM)
  6. Martín Espada, “En la calle San Sebastian” (docUWM)
  7. Susan Firer, “Call Me Pier” (docUWM)
  8. Nick Flynn, “Cartoon Physics, Part 1” (docUWM)
  9. Edward Hirsch, “Branch Library” (docUWM)
  10. Lisa Jarnot, “Poem Beginning with a Line by Frank Lima” (docUWM)
  11. Valerie Martínez, “Bowl” (docUWM)
  12. Raymond McDaniel, “Assault to Abjury” (docUWM)
  13. Campbell McGrath, “Nights on Planet Earth” (docUWM)
  14. Heather McHugh, “Space Bar” (docUWM)
  15. Valzhyna Mort, “New York” (docUWM)
  16. Paul Muldoon, “Hedgehog” (docUWM)
  17. Kay Ryan, “Sharks’ Teeth” (docUWM)
  18. Elizabeth Skurnick, “Grand Central, Track 23” (docUWM)
  19. James Tate, “The Search for Lost Lives” (docUWM)
  20. Sally Van Doren, “Preposition” (docUWM)
  21. Jillian Weise, “Incision” (docUWM)
  22. C.D. Wright, “Lake Echo, Dear” (docUWM)
  23. Mark Doty, “Brian Age Seven” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  24. Edward Hirsch, “A Partial History of My Stupidity” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  25. Jane Hirshfield, “For What Binds Us” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  26. Ted Kooser, “Daddy Longlegs” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  27. Naomi Shihab Nye, “One Boy Told Me” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  28. Linda Pastan, “Why Are Your Poems So Dark?” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  29. Gerald Stern, “The Dancing” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)
  30. Kevin Young, “Aunties” (WGBH/David Grubin Productions)


About 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.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle, and children’s series. Boston’s last remaining independent TV station, WGBH produces local TV productions (among them Greater Boston, Basic Black, and Maria Hinojosa One-on-One) that focus on the region’s diverse community, while WGBH 89.7 FM is Boston’s NPR Arts & Culture station, offering a rich menu of classical, jazz, blues, news programming, and more. WGBH is the leading producer of online content for pbs.org—one of the most-visited dot-org sites on the Internet—as well as a major producer for public radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys, and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. Visit WGBH on the Web at www.wgbh.org.

About docUWM
docUWM is a documentary media center based in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Film Department that provides students the opportunity to work on professional productions and learn the art, craft and business of making media. Students and affiliated faculty collaborate on feature-length documentaries for public television broadcast, promotional videos, short films that raise awareness about a variety of contemporary political and social issues, and boundary-defying projects like animated poems presented on monitors in public transportation systems around the country. Each year docUWM also presents docUquarium to the public, a combination documentary film series and class featuring premieres and visiting filmmakers.

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