July 29, 2005 Ted Kooser To Be Featured in "The Poet and the Poem" Radio Series

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and Witter Bynner Fellows Martin Wall and Claudia Emerson are among seven noted poets featured in the fall 2005 season of “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress,” a radio program available to all public radio stations through National Public Radio (NPR) distribution.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed Kooser to his second term as Poet Laureate in May for the 2005-2006 literary season. The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936, promotes poetry and suggests authors to read at literary events administered by the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center.

“The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress” is a series of seven one-hour shows featuring the country’s top poets, who discuss and read their poems and are interviewed by host Grace Cavalieri, who records the series at the Library. The programs are available to public radio stations free of charge, with unlimited broadcast rights for three years from date of uplink.

TheWitter Bynner Foundation for Poetry provides funding for the series, which is produced by Forest Woods Media Productions Inc. The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., and the National Endowment for the Arts provide additional support for the program.

Other poets in the fall season lineup include Washington, D.C., Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick; Quique Aviles of Washington, D.C.; Edgar Silex of Maryland; and Herbert Martin of Ohio.

Every time I interview a poet I realize how lucky I am. It’s an energetic exchange, where I sometimes forget we have an audience. Poet Stanley Kunitz said poetry should be an enjoyable conversation between friends. That is what this program is,” said Cavalieri, who launched the series as a live show in 1977, when she was a founding member of the Washington, D.C., FM radio station WPFW.

For 20 years, until 1997, the hour-long show was broadcast weekly on WPFW and distributed nationally by Pacifica Radio and internationally by Voice of America. In 1998, the program moved to the Library of Congress, where the series is now recorded for distribution. Cavalieri has presented more than 2,000 poets on radio to the nation since 1977.

Cavalieri herself is a poet and the author of 14 books. She is also a playwright, having written 20 plays that were produced on American stages. Cavalieri has won the Allen Ginsberg Award for poetry, the Pen-Fiction Award for story and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal.

The series premieres Sept. 7, 2005. Check local radio listings. After broadcast, the programs are available from the Pacifica Radio Archives, (800) 735-0230, extension 261. Audio cybercasts of “The Poet and the Poem” are available for listening at www.loc.gov/poetry/poetpoem.html.

The annual reading program of the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center began in the 1940s and is the oldest in the Washington, D.C., area, and among the oldest in the United States. The center has been almost exclusively supported since 1951 by a gift from the late Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who wanted to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger audience.


PR 05-160
ISSN 0731-3527