For Immediate Release

New Titles from the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute and McSweeney’s

Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry and The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders

April 3, 2013

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to announce the publication of two new titles: Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry and The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders, both co-published with McSweeney’s. Projects of the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, with series editor and 2011–2013 Institute director Ilya Kaminsky, the books serve as resources for readers, writers, teachers, and travelers. Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry, edited by Dorothea Lasky, Dominic Luxford, and Jesse Nathan, offers essays, interviews, and lesson plans. The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders, edited by Jared Hawkley, Susan Rich, and Brian Turner, offers individual travel experiences from poets and explores how future travelers can serve as international envoys, revitalizing American poetry in the process. Both books will be released on April 9 and are currently available as eBooks on the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute website, along with a range of other free educational resources.

Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry offers a unique mixture of essays from experts Matthea Harvey, William Stafford, and Ron Padgett, among others; first-person accounts and advice from nonprofit leaders, including Kevin Coval (Young Chicago Authors), Dave Eggers (826 National), Robin Reagler (Writers in the Schools Alliance), and Amy Swauger (Teachers & Writers Collaborative); and lesson plans from Katie Ford, Yusef Komunyakaa, Matthew Zapruder, and additional poet-teachers. Open the Door draws from a wealth of experiential knowledge to provide ideas to both first-time and veteran teachers—or anyone else with an interest in poetry’s place in the lives of young people. “Teach children early about the transformative swing door of simile, the rabbit hole of metaphor, and how poetry can be or do anything they want it to,” instructs Matthea Harvey.

The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders is a collection of reflections, roundtables, and practical resources of interest to writers traveling abroad. Contributors, including Kazim Ali, Nick Flynn, Claudia Rankine, and Eliza Griswold, discuss the benefits and hardships that come with traveling and living internationally, their motivations and expectations, and the outcomes of their own experiences, along with providing practical tips for those setting out on their own. As Brian Turner puts it, “This book is a celebration of poets who have ventured beyond the visible horizon and brought back verse.” With so many poets having traveled and taken up residence around the world, The Strangest of Theatres is a necessary compendium of individual struggles and successes for the benefit of today’s travelers and planners, doers and dreamers.

Electronic versions of both books are available through the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute. The print versions are available for sale at bookstores, through online retailers, or from McSweeney’s.

Select editors are available for interviews. Editors’ bios, blurbs, and additional information about each publication are available upon request.

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

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.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070
Media contact: Kristin Gecan, 312.799.8065;

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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