Public television brings poetry into homes nationwide with a collection of 40 short poetry films
CHICAGO—The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the debut of a new season of Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor. This April, the short poetry film series 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 Poetrymagazine, the project offers 40 short poetry films during unexpected moments in the public television broadcast schedule.
“Poetry Everywhere brings great poems, in gemlike 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 background. An enthusiastic supporter of poetry, he regularly features it 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).
“With Poetry Everywhere, our goal is to provide new platforms for poetry,” says WGBH’s Brigid Sullivan, series executive producer. “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.”
New online resources help bring Poetry Everywhere into the classroom
New to the project this season is the Poetry Everywherecollection on Teachers’ Domain (WGBH’s library of free media resources, available online at www.teachersdomain.org). Here, educators will find resources—such as short introductions and discussion questions—to bring the films into the classroom. The updated collection at Teachers’ Domain comprises 35 poets, including Adrienne Rich, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mark Doty, Martin Espada, Kwame Dawes, and Marilyn Chin. These resources can be found online at www.teachersdomain.org/special/pe08-wx/.
Selections from Poetry Everywhere also are offered on iTunes U and YouTube.
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About Poetry Everywhere
The short films in the Poetry Everywhere series employ a variety of dynamic production approaches, including poets reading their own work to the camera, animated interpretations of much-loved poems, and celebrities reading favorite poems. The Poetry Everywhere collection of poems also is available for streaming at www.pbs.org/poetry.
The films include Robert Frost reading his classic “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” in an archival clip; former US poet laureate Billy Collins reading “The Lanyard”; Mary-Louise Parker, Tony Kushner, and Wynton Marsalis sharing their favorite poems; and an Emily Dickinson poem rendered in an animation. There are poems by Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa, 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 (www.pbs.org/poetry) 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 archive(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 atwww.pbs.org/poetry.
Poetry Everywhere is a coproduction 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).
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece,Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience,Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local WGBH TV productions that focus on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture; 99.5 classical; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World, and is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.
About David Grubin Productions
David Grubin Productions has produced more than 100 films on subjects ranging from history to art, from poetry to science, earning David Grubin—producer, director, writer, and cinematographer—every major award in his field, including two Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, five prizes from the Writers Guild, and 10 Emmys. David Grubin Productions has been widely acclaimed for its biographies of American presidents, which have set the standard for television biography: LBJ; FDR; TR: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt; Truman; and Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided for American Experience on PBS. Other award-winning films include The Buddha, Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, The Secret Life of the Brain, The Mysterious Human Heart, The Jewish Americans, and The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
About American Public Television
American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. In 2009, APT distributed 56 of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series, and classic movies, including Spain . . . on the Road Again, Rick Steves’ Europe, Worldfocus, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, America’s Test Kitchen from Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s Italy, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, Rosemary and Thyme, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Liza’s at the Palace. . . , andJohn Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched Create—a TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit www.APTonline.org.
About Teachers’ Domain
Teachers’ Domain is a free online digital library of 4,000 classroom-ready, media-rich resources for students pre-K through college from public media and other partnering organizations. It provides an easy-to-navigate structure that allows teachers and students (and parents) to find contextualized resources through a range of topics and curriculum themes. Background essays provide just-in-time support information on the content of each resource, lesson plans illustrate ways to use the resources to meet curricular objectives, and self-paced lessons guide students (or teachers, for professional development) through a sequence of media-based activities. Also, state-by-state, national, and Common Core standards correlations assure that resources fulfill mandated curricular objectives, and folder/group tools let users organize, annotate, and share resources. Registration is free and easy.