Saturday, April 2, 2011

National Poetry Month

In Celebration of National Poetry Month in April, Public Television Brings Poetry Online and into Homes Nationwide with Poetry Everywhere, a Collection of 40 Short Poetry Films

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2011: This April, Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor returns to public television and the Web with a broad spectrum of poetic voices. Produced by WGBH Boston and David Grubin Productions, in association with the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, the project offers 40 short poetry films during unexpected moments in the public television broadcast schedule. Through television and the Internet (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/), viewers will have an exclusive, front-row seat to the world’s greatest poetry festival.

Says WGBH’s Brigid Sullivan, series executive producer, “With Poetry Everywhere, our goal is to provide new platforms for poetry. Whether our viewers seek out poems online, on public television, or through new classroom tools on Teachers’ Domain, our mission is to present these great works across a range of mediums and increase the overall accessibility of poetry to
new audiences.”

David Grubin, the producer of the series, concurs. “Television, and now the Internet— pervasive mass cultural mediums—can make the voice of a single human being especially vivid,” Grubin says. “We are hoping that these poems will be a reason to pause in our busy lives, providing a moment for introspection, inspiration, even revelation.”

Poetry Everywhere brings great poems, in gem-like productions, to the eyes, ears, and hearts of its viewers,” says Poetry Foundation president John Barr. “A poem at a time, it enriches our lives.”

Building on Poetry Everywhere’s existing collection of 32 short poetry films, the project’s fourth season on public television adds eight new poets reading their own works:
Galway Kinnell, After Making Love We Hear Footsteps; Dorianne Laux, Dust; Joseph Millar, American Wedding; Kwame Dawes, Tornado Child; Matthew Dickman, Slow Dance; Kay Ryan, Turtle; Rita Dove, American Smooth; and Bob Hicok, Calling him back from layoff.

Once again, Garrison Keillor serves as series narrator. Keillor’s introductions to the poems and poets provide audiences with wonderful insights into each poet’s world. His enthusiasm for poetry is well documented, both as a regular feature on his public radio programs A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac, and in his poetry anthologies, Good Poems, Good Poems for Hard Times, and the forthcoming Good Poems, American Places (to be released in April).

New online resources help bring Poetry Everywhere into the classroomNew to the project this season is the Poetry Everywhere collection on Teachers’ Domain (WGBH’s online library of free media resources for classroom use http://www.teachersdomain.org/special/pe08-ex/), also launching April 1. Teachers’ Domain’s Poetry Everywhere collection will feature a diversity of poets—35 in all—including Adrienne Rich, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mark Doty, Martin Espada, Rita Dove, Kwame Dawes, Marilyn Chin, and Matthew Dickman. Each entry will include a short introduction that sparks the student’s interest and desire to read the poem, and questions for classroom discussion. And each asset is correlated to state and national standards.

Selections from Poetry Everywhere also are offered on iTunes U and YouTube for free download as tools for individuals, colleges, educators, and other organizations—such as book groups and poetry clubs—to use and share the content.

About Poetry Everywhere

The Poetry Everywhere series employs a variety of dynamic production approaches, including poets reading their own work to camera, animated interpretations of much-loved poems, and celebrities reading favorite poems. The Poetry Everywhere collection of poems also is available for streaming at pbs.org/poetry.
Poetry Everywhere offers something for everyone. Robert Frost reads his classic, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening in an archival clip; former US poet laureate Billy Collins reads The Lanyard, a poem marked by his characteristic mix of poignancy and humor; Mary Louise-Parker, Tony Kushner, and Wynton Marsalis share their favorite poems; and an Emily Dickinson poem is rendered in an animation. There are poems by Pulitzer Prize-winner Yusef Koumanyaka, National Book Award-winner Adrienne Rich, former US poet laureate Stanley Kunitz, the great 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, Nobel Prize-winner W.B. Yeats, and many more, including a number of contemporary poets filmed at The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, North America’s largest poetry festival.
The Poetry Everywhere website (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/) also features a collection of original animated interpretations of contemporary poems created by undergraduate students of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Visitors to Poetry Everywhere on the Web can visit the Poetry Foundation website (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/) to read the full text of featured poems and biographies of the poets, as well as further explore the Foundation’s extensive poetry archive. The full collection of poems will be available for online streaming beginning April 1 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/.

Poetry Everywhere is a co-production of WGBH and David Grubin
Productions, in association with the Poetry Foundation. David Grubin is the producer. WGBH’s Brigid Sullivan is executive producer. The poetry films of Philip Levine, Charles Simic, and Seamus Heaney were created by Leita Luchetti for the WGBH series Poetry Breaks. The series is distributed nationally by Boston-based American Public Television (APT).