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Poetry Foundation Announces Inaugural Project of Poetry Institute

Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute to considerdistribution of poems through new media
March 5th, 2009

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to announce that as its first project the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute (HMPI) will develop a set of “best practices” for implementing and elevating the profile of poetry through new-media platforms. A policy institute dedicated exclusively to issues of intellectual and practical importance to poetry, the HMPI has as its purpose to convene interested parties to identify issues and champion common solutions for the benefit of poets and the art form of poetry.

Over the course of 2009, the HMPI will invite a panel of poets, publishers, and experts from the fields of media law and technology to examine issues related to the distribution of poetry through new-media platforms, with the aim of forging recommendations that both protect the intellectual property of poets and publishers and ensure a vigorous presence for poetry in all its forms on all available outlets.

Consideration of the needs of poets and their publishers, and with them their audiences, will be a cornerstone in this initial Institute undertaking. As such, the project will include poets and publishers as essential stakeholders in the discussion, bringing them together with leaders from electronic media, media law, and other pertinent fields to create a model for new-media distribution of poems.

Through this focus on poetry and its creators and publishers, the HMPI will also work to address the distinctive needs of poetry as an art form and to consider these needs in developing its recommendations about how best to bring poetry to audiences now being reached by new media. The project will concentrate not only on the current distribution of poems over the Internet but also on the evolving nature of technology and new media in order to develop recommendations that simultaneously serve varied electronic distribution platforms. Any resulting administration of generated ideas will be undertaken by a separate entity or entities.

Katharine Coles, poet laureate of Utah, former head of the creative writing program at the University of Utah, and founding director of the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature, has been named the Institute’s inaugural director. Members of the Institute’s initial working group include:


    • Michael Collier, poet, professor, and poetry editor for Houghton Mifflin


    • Wyn Cooper, poet and lyricist


    • Rita Dove, poet, playwright, professor, and former U.S. poet laureate


    • Cornelius Eady, poet, professor, playwright, and co-founder of Cave Canem


    • David Fenza, executive director of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs


    • Kate Gale, editor, writer, and founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press


    • Kimiko Hahn, poet and professor


    • Lewis Hyde, poet, essayist, professor, and MacArthur Fellow


    • Fiona McCrae, publisher and executive director of Graywolf Press


    • Robert Pinsky, poet, critic, professor, translator, editor, and former U.S. poet laureate


    • Claudia Rankine, poet, playwright, and professor


    • Alberto Ríos, poet and professor


    • Don Selby, co-founder of the Poetry Daily website


    • Rick Stevens, computer scientist and professor


    • Jennifer Urban, director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at the University of Southern California


    • Monica Youn, poet and counsel in the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law


For more information on the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, including full biographies of participants and more detail on the new-media distribution project, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.


About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, 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 http://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/aboutHMPI.html.

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