For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation Celebrates National Poetry Month

Programming includes free magazines, discussion groups, readings, and more

March 28, 2012

CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting array of literary events and programs in celebration of National Poetry Month, April 2012.  

Poetry
In celebration of the magazine’s centennial year and National Poetry Month, more than 60,000 free copies of Poetry’s April issue were distributed to more than 11,000 reading groups around the world—triple the number of participants in 2011. In the April 2012 issue, Poetry readers find new poetry from Karen An-Hwei Lee, Yusef Komunyakaa, David Lehman, Sandra Simonds, Wendy Videlock, and others, as well as poems from the magazine’s 100-year archive, including original work from Gwendolyn Brooks, Geoffrey Hill, Howard Nemerov, and Muriel Rukeyser. Readers can find the entire April issue of Poetry online as of April 1, along with the April discussion guide and the April magazine podcast. 

Harriet: The Blog
The Poetry Foundation’s blog, Harriet, will host more than 30 poets during the month of April, including Stephen Burt, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Daisy Fried, D.A. Powell, and Rachel Zucker. Poets will engage in a lively month-long conversation about poetry, poetics, and the poetry blogosphere. This is the third year the blog will host a National Poetry Month discussion. Follow the conversation

The East Village Poetry Walk
Passing Stranger—The East Village Poetry Walk is the new audio walking tour of poetry-related sites in New York City’s East Village. Focusing on poetry and poets from the 1950s to the present, including Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, Ron Padgett, and Anne Waldman, the tour stops include St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, W.H. Auden’s old apartment building, Tompkins Square Park, and the Bowery Poetry Club. Each stop presents a montage of poetry, interviews, and archival recordings relating to that particular place. Users can take the two-mile tour using an mp3 player. Download the free audio file and a map outlining the route. Passing Stranger—The East Village Poetry Walk was created by Pejk Malinovski with support from the Poetry Foundation.

Poetry for Children: Martha Speaks and Arthur
The Poetry Foundation has teamed up with WGBH to help promote poetry to children during National Poetry Month. Best-selling poet Billy Collins and inaugural Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky will appear on episodes of beloved children’s TV programs Martha Speaks and Arthur on Monday, April 2, on PBS KIDS (check local listings). Beyond the broadcast, kids are invited to create and publish their own poetry online with the all-new game Martha’s Rhyme Time at pbskids.org/martha. Kids can also write and share their poems online with Fern’s Poetry Club at pbskids.org/arthur. In addition, the Poetry Foundation’s @PoetryFound Twitter handle will participate in a Tweet-Up discussion of children’s poetry on Wednesday, March 28, from 8pm to 9pm CT. 

Events
The Poetry Foundation presents a series of events throughout National Poetry Month:

  • On Thursday, March 29 at 6pm, Poetry hosts a party celebrating the release of its April issue. Billy Blake and the Vagabonds will debut a modern musical interpretation of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.
  • On Saturday, April 7 at 7pm, Miguel Barnet and Ana Rossetti present a bilingual reading with translation and performance as part of the Poesía en Abril festival celebrating Spanish-language poetry.
  • On Thursday, April 12 at 7pm, the Dark Room Collective—including members Thomas Sayers Ellis, Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young, Major Jackson, John Keene, Sharan Strange, and Nehessaiu deGannes—present a reunion reading.
  • On Saturday, April 14 from 10am to 1pm, children and their parents or guardians are invited to Children’s Poetry Day, featuring appearances by PBS’s Martha and Arthur, screenings of episodes of the PBS KIDS programs Martha Speaks and Arthur featuring poets Billy Collins and Jack Prelutsky, a musical performance and puppet show featuring the work of current Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, and a variety of interactive crafts and activities, including a scavenger hunt. Children’s Poetry Day is free and open only to children and their parents or guardians, with admission on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • On Saturday, April 14 at 7pm, poets Averill Curdy, Calvin Forbes, Coya Paz, and Roger Reeves and pianists Adam Marks and George McRae present an evening of music and poetry at Curtiss Hall in the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan Avenue.
  • On Saturday, April 28 at 2pm, Australian poet Les Murray reads at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center at 400 South State Street. Les Murray’s reading is free and open to the public, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Except where noted, events take place at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, and advance reservations are available for all events online or by calling (312) 787-7070. Visit the Poetry Foundation website for the full events schedule.

Library
On Friday, April 13, the monthly Library Book Club continues its monthly discussions with Poetry contributor Anthony Madrid’s I Am Your Slave, Now Do What I Say. Space is limited to 15 participants; register in advance by e-mailing library@poetryfoundation.org. Weekly Toddler Poemtime, for children ages three to five, takes place each Wednesday at 11am. The library hosts the monthly Elementary Poemtime on Wednesday, April 11 at 4pm for students in grades two to four. Admission to Poemtime is granted on a first come, first served basis. Visit the Poetry Foundation website for the full events schedule.

Gallery
Open Space: Micro-Press Works, 1950s to Present will be on display throughout the month of April in the Poetry Foundation gallery. The exhibit brings together chapbooks published by 12 renowned micro-presses from the 1950s to the present day, including original publications by poets Jack Spicer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Lyn Hejinian, and many others. The featured books were designed and printed in collaboration with poets and visual artists, and range from gritty DIY photocopied pamphlets to finely crafted letterpress editions. The gallery is open weekdays, 11am to 4pm. Visit the Poetry Foundation website for more information

The POETRY App
The National Magazine Award-nominated POETRY app is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app features Poetry magazine poems, plus hundreds of additional poems by classic and contemporary poets—from William Shakespeare to César Vallejo to Heather McHugh. Users can search for old favorites with memorable lines, discover new poems to fit any mood, save favorite poems to read and share later through Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. Download the free app.

American Life in Poetry
April 2012 marks the seventh anniversary of American Life in Poetry, a project that brings free poetry content to newspapers around the country. Founded by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, American Life in Poetry regularly runs in newspapers across the country and is published in a range of Internet outlets. Over the last seven years the column has featured more than 300 poets, including award-winning poets Linda Pastan, Jane Hirshfield, and Robert Bly. The column not only brings contemporary poetry to a wider audience but also restores poetry’s traditional place in newspapers, where the column is well received by regular readers. Sign up to receive the column.

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About Poetry Magazine
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 1 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. In 2011, the magazine was honored with two National Magazine Awards. It celebrates its centennial in 2012.

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 partnerships, prizes, and programs. Opened to the public in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation building in Chicago provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events. It also houses a public garden, a library, and an exhibition gallery, as well as the offices of the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org.

About the Poetry Foundation Library
The Midwest’s only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, the Poetry Foundation Library exists to promote the reading of poetry among the general public, and to support the editorial needs of all Poetry Foundation programs and staff. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library creates interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in readers of all ages. The library’s collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, as well as including representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras. A children’s collection contains a range of titles to engage young readers.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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