15.471 poetry & the online medium

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 04:54:58 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 471.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 09:18:10 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard@lists.village.virginia.edu>

    The following might serve to provoke discussion, once again, of how poets
    and others use the online medium for publishing poetry. Even moderately
    well-known poets, I understand, have trouble getting their stuff into
    circulation otherwise -- opportunities are not thick on the ground, slim
    volumes are notoriously expensive and the distribution of poetry magazines
    quite limited. Serving poetry online goes back several years, as I hope my
    colleague John Lavagnino will tell us. Also notable in this regard is Poems
    on the Underground, now celebrating its 15th anniversary
    <http://www.poetrysoc.com/education/under.htm> -- thus almost exactly
    contemporary with Humanist.

    There's something more -- allow me to take a run at it with a question. Is
    there not a discontinuous, interruptive quality of momentariness that
    poems, especially the brief, non-narrative kind, share with the electronic
    medium? But not only this medium, of course. The genius of Poems on
    the Underground is at least in part its use of "stolen" moments.


    >Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 13:04:06 -0500
    >From: "danna c. bell-russel" <dbell@LOC.GOV>
    >Organization: library of congress
    >X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.77 [en] (Windows NT 5.0; U)
    >X-Accept-Language: en
    >Good afternoon,
    >This announcement is being posted to a number of lists. Please accept
    >our apologies for any duplicate postings.
    >U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins has launched a new Web site, called
    >Poetry 180, designed to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of
    >poetry in America's high schools. The site, www.loc.gov/poetry/180, is
    >featured on the Library of Congress's home page. The Poet Laureateship
    >is an appointed office within the Library of Congress's Scholarly
    >Programs Office.
    > The site will contain the text of 180 poems Mr. Collins has selected
    >(one for each day of the school year), suggestions for different ways to
    >present a poem in a school setting, as well as guidance on how to read a
    >poem aloud. Most of the poems presented on the site were written by
    >contemporary American authors and were selected with a high school
    >audience in mind. The poems were chosen to be accessible upon first
    >hearing, although students may wish to download them from the Web site
    >for later reading.
    > "The idea behind Poetry 180 is simple--to have a poem read each day to
    >the student bodies of American high schools across the country," said
    >Mr. Collins. "Hearing a poem every day, especially well-written,
    >contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might convince
    >students that poetry can be an understandable, painless, and even
    >eye-opening part of their everyday experience."
    > A message from Mr. Collins on the site "to the high school teachers of
    >America" urges them to select someone to read the poem to the school
    >each day, perhaps at the end of daily announcements over a public
    >address system or by teachers in their individual homerooms.
    > "The hope," writes Mr. Collins, "is that poetry will become a part of
    >the daily life of students in addition to being a subject that is part
    >of the school curriculum."
    > There is no particular order in which the poems should be presented,
    >nor is it necessary that all schools read the same poem each day. "The
    >poems have been chosen with high school- age students in mind, but if
    >you feel a certain poem inappropriate," Mr. Collins writes, "skip it."
    > Mr. Collins was named Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library
    >of Congress in May 2001 by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
    >The position has existed since 1936, when the late Archer M. Huntington
    >endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. Since then, many of the
    >nation's most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the
    >Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194
    >(December 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The Poet
    >Laureate suggests authors to read in the Library's literary series,
    >plans other special literary events during the reading season, and
    >usually introduces the programs. The Poet Laureate is appointed for a
    >one-year term, subject to renewal for another year.
    > Billy Collins's books of poetry include a volume of new and selected
    >poems, Sailing Alone Around the Room, which was published by Random
    >House in September; Picnic, Lightning (University of Pittsburgh Press,
    >1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a Lenore Marshall Poetry
    >Prize finalist; Questions About Angels (1991), a National Poetry Series
    >selection by Edward Hirsch; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988);
    >Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).
    > His honors include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the
    >Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim
    >Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the
    >Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize, all
    >awarded by Poetry magazine. He is Distinguished Professor of English at
    >Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the
    >past 30 years. He is also a writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence
    >College, and he has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public
    >Library. He lives in Somers, New York.
    >Please call (202) 707-5394 with any questions

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