My Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating and encouraging poetry's role in the lives of Americans. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, started the project in 1997.
He believed that poetry needs to be read aloud. "Reading a poem silently is like staring at a sheet of music." The reader of the poem does not need to be the poet or a skilled performer. "One of the beautiful things about poetry," says Pinsky, "is that the medium is a voice, not necessarily the poet's voice. When you read a poem by Shakespeare, Dickinson or Langston Hughes, your voice is the artist's medium."
Robert Pinsky believed that contrary to stereotype, Americans do read poetry; that the audience for poetry is not limited to professors and college students; and that there are many people for whom particular poems have found profound, personal meaning. This project seeks to give voice to American poetry lovers.
In April 1998, the My Favorite Poem Project was launched with a series of public poetry readings. In Boston, twenty-five Bostonians read their favorite poem. The readers included the President of the Massachusetts State Senate, a homeless Boston resident and a third grader. The audience was packed into the Boston Public Library. The Library President dressed as a cowboy to read a cowboy poem. Some readers recited poems in Spanish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language. As you see, Americans do read poetry.
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If you have a poem you would like to read, please contact Faith Flaherty at email@example.com
For more information on the Favorite Poem Project http://www.favoritepoem.org/index.html