For Immediate Release

Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute Publishes Blueprints

Celebrated Poets Convene to Bring Poetry into Communities

February 8, 2011

CHICAGO—The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to announce the publication of the e-book Blueprints: Bringing Poetry into Communities, co-published with the University of Utah Press. A project of the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute and edited by inaugural director Katharine Coles, the book brings together noted poets and community leaders to discuss the inventive ways they’ve introduced poetry to diverse communities. The essays include tips, program ideas, and successful methods for bringing poetry to people, while the book’s final section draws from the strategies discussed in those essays to offer a flexible toolkit for individuals and organizations interested in bringing poetry into their own communities. Essays and contributions come from poets associated with the following programs and organizations:

  • Elizabeth Alexander, Cave Canem
  • Sherwin Bitsui, Nizhoni Bridges and the Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Susan Boskoff, Nevada Arts Council
  • Lee Briccetti, Poets House
  • Alison Hawthorne Deming, University of Arizona’s Poetry Center
  • Dana Gioia, Poetry Out Loud
  • Robert Hass, River of Words
  • Bas Kwakman, Poetry International
  • Thomas Lux, Poetry@Tech
  • Christopher Merrill, University of Iowa International Writing Program
  • Luis Rodriguez, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore
  • Anna Deavere Smith, Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc.
  • Patricia Smith, Poetry Slam
  • Tree Swenson, Academy of American Poets
  • Orlando White, Diné College

The contributors to Blueprints draw from a wealth of experiential learning to provide encouragement for budding poetry communities and arts administrators. Robert Hass writes about his work with River of Words, an organization that encourages environmental awareness through the arts, and the lessons he’s learned about running a successful nonprofit. Elizabeth Alexander, who read at President Obama’s inauguration and is a supporter of Cave Canem, discusses her own search for community as well as the importance of togetherness and safe spaces for creative expression. And Lee Briccetti of Poets House in New York City reminds organizers that fostering an environment conducive to the appreciation of poetry can achieve immeasurable results. She offers words that any community builder might live by: “You can’t create love. But you can create the conditions for love.”

By providing stories from those who have succeeded in bringing poetry to communities and highlighting proven techniques, the book offers readers inspiration, guidance, and confidence, as well as practical tools and strategies. It is available for free download at www.poetryfoundation.org/blueprints. The print book, which will be published in March, will be available for sale at bookstores, through online retailers, or from the University of Utah Press at www.uofupress.com.

Katharine Coles is available for interviews about this project. Please call 312.799.8016 to schedule a time to speak with her.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. 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. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/poetryfoundation or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

About the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute
The Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute is an independent forum created to provide a space in which fresh thinking about poetry, in both its intellectual and its practical needs, can flourish free of any allegiance other than to the best ideas. With this in mind, the Institute convenes leading poets, scholars, publishers, educators, and other thinkers from inside and outside the poetry world to address issues of importance to the art form of poetry and to identify and champion solutions for the benefit of the art.

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