For Immediate Release
Poetry Foundation Announces Open House
Two-day Celebration Features Performances in New Cultural Building Dedicated to Poetry
May 24, 2011
CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce that its new building will open to the public on June 25.
To celebrate, the Foundation will host a two-day Open House June 25 and 26, featuring poetry readings by Elizabeth Alexander, Sandra Cisneros, Billy Collins, Robert Hass, Edward Hirsch, Ange Mlinko, Atsuro Riley, and Kay Ryan; children’s poetry readings by Mary Ann Hoberman, J. Patrick Lewis, and Jack Prelutsky; a presentation by building architect John Ronan; performances by Poetry Out Loud participants; and panel discussions, book signings, and much more. Free tickets to all of the performances are available now through an online reservation system, and visitors are welcome to explore the new building throughout the weekend. A full schedule and details about the activities can be found at www.poetryfoundation.org/openhouse.
The building’s primary purpose is to help the Foundation carry out its mission of discovering and celebrating the best poetry and putting it before the largest possible audience. The ground floor of the two-story building is devoted to public use, including a multipurpose performance space acoustically designed for the human voice; a public garden; a library containing a 35,000-volume non-circulating collection; and an exhibition gallery.
The building also fulfills the vision of Harriet Monroe, who founded Poetry magazine in 1912 and wrote that her publication was “a modest effort to give to poetry her own place.” The first building in Chicago dedicated solely to the art of poetry, the new space realizes Monroe’s dream, set out in her very first editorial, that the magazine would help poets pursue their art, increase public interest in poetry, and raise poetry’s profile in our culture.
The Poetry Foundation’s new home is one of only three public spaces in the nation built exclusively for the advancement of poetry, along with Poets House in Manhattan and the dedicated poetry center at the University of Arizona.
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 poetryfoundation.org.
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume I of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.