For Immediate Release
American Life in Poetry Celebrates Fourth Anniversary
Free Column Restores Poetry’s Place in Newspapers
April 7, 2009
CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the fourth anniversary of American Life in Poetry, the free newspaper column featuring a weekly poem selected and briefly introduced by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. Running regularly in over 75 papers, including the Seattle Times and the Des Moines Register, with a circulation of upwards of four million, American Life in Poetry has earned a following of “astonished and thrilled readers with fanatic devotion,” says Nancy Cook Senn, editor at the Shawnee News Star (Okla.).
Over the last four years the column has featured nearly 200 poets, including current U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa, various poets representing large and small regions of the country, and several young poets from public school writing programs. The column not only promotes contemporary poetry to a larger audience but also restores poetry’s traditional place in newspapers.
“The age-old tradition of clipping poems from the paper and mailing them to friends, or pasting them in scrapbooks, or posting them on the refrigerator is thriving, and an abundance of our readers have expressed their appreciation for what we give them each week,” said Kooser. “Poetry is definitely alive and well in America.”
Lin C. Parker, design editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has said, “The best day of the week is the one when Ted Kooser’s column arrives. His poetry selections have teeth. These poems bite, they savor, they speak simple truths that bring clarity and insight to the world around us.”
Both Kooser and the Poetry Foundation look forward to the column’s continued growth. As the current economy limits available space in print, editors may consider offering American Life in Poetry to their readers, free of charge, through their online editions.
Register to receive American Life in Poetry, and explore the column archive, at
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.