In April 1998, former poet Laureate of the United States Robert Pinsky launched the Favorite Poem Project with poetry readings in New York, Washington, Boston, St. Louis, and Los Angeles during National Poetry Month. A part of the Library of Congress Bicentennial celebration, the Project created audio and video archives of Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life reciting their favorite poems. At the heart of this initiative was Mr. Pinsky's belief that poetry is meant to be read aloud. “The archives will be a record at the end of the millennium of what we choose and what we do with our voices and faces, when asked to say aloud a poem that we love, ” said Mr. Pinsky, who served as Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000.
The two long-term goals of the Favorite Poem Project were to promote the reading and appreciation of poetry and encourage the teaching of poetry in schools nationwide.
The Project recorded nearly 1,000 Americans saying poems that they love. Mr. Pinsky has delivered fifty audio and video segments to the Library of Congress which have become a permanent part of the Library's Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. “This will be a gift to the nation's future: an archive that may come to represent, in a form both individual and public, the collective cultural consciousness of the American people at the turn of the century,” said Mr. Pinsky, a professor of English and creative writing at Boston University.
For information on the Favorite Poem Project (http://www.bu.edu/favoritepoem/ ), please visit the Project's Web site.
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