For Immediate Release


The first in a series of poetry news segments to air on PBS tonight
February 27th, 2006
Chicago, IL — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, announced today a news partnership with The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, a co-production of MacNeil Lehrer Productions and WETA, Washington, DC. The project intends to engage a broader audience with poetry through a series of thoughtful, in-depth reports on contemporary poets and poetry. The series will include the production of short-form profiles on living American poets and long-form segments on current debates in poetry that will air on The NewsHour during calendar year 2006. The pieces will also be available on the Online NewsHour and on as streaming audio/video.

The first installment of the series airs tonight on PBS and features a profile of Army veteran and poet Brian Turner. Turner, who served for seven years in the U.S. Army, has recently published a book of poetry titled, "Here, Bullet," in which he uses verse to document his experiences in Iraq. To coincide with the on-air profile, Brian Turner is conducting a live online journal on the Foundation's web site,, throughout the week.

The partnership between the Foundation and The NewsHour extends The NewsHour's long-standing commitment to include poetry within its arts and culture reporting. In the past, NewsHour features have included probing interviews with Pulitzer Prize winners and other major poets, as well as segments on the cultural phenomena of poetry slams and former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's "Favorite Poem Project."

The collaboration will allow The NewsHour to draw from the Foundation's extensive research on the state of poetry in American culture, as well as the Foundation's knowledge of various issues—from the plethora of MFA programs to the current neglect of some of the art form's living masters. Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown and Arts and Media Producer Anne Davenport are developing the new series.

"The Poetry Foundation is proud of its partnership with The NewsHour," said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation. "Our shared goal is to produce a series that captures the energy and the issues that enliven poetry today."

"The people whose practical interest in news and policy issues brings them nightly to our broadcast also have room for—indeed an appetite for—the clarifying effects of poetry," said Linda Winslow, executive producer of The NewsHour. "We are delighted to embark on this collaboration with the Poetry Foundation."

Upcoming segments in the series will follow D.C-area high school students as they prepare for and participate in the national poetry recitation contest and a report on the restoration of poetry written by Chinese immigrants at the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco.

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The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA, Washington, DC and Thirteen/WNET in New York. The Online NewsHour is among the largest Web sites, and the site attracted more than 44 million unique visitors in 2004. The NewsHour receives corporate funding from the Archer Daniels Midland Company, CIT and Pacific Life, with additional funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. One of the largest literary organizations in the world, 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. In addition to launching a major new poetry web site, the Foundation is sponsoring a national recitation contest in the schools, and an unprecedented study to understand poetry's place in American culture. Upon receipt of a major gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, evolving from the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941. The Poetry Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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