Poetry Foundation Library Building in Chicago courtesy of Alanscottwalker under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.”  Edgar Allan Poe

The Poetry Foundation and Complexly announce Ours Poetica, a new tri-weekly video series that will capture the intimacy and physicality of holding a book while engaging with a poem read by a distinctive voice. Poet Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck, curates the series, and author, YouTube pioneer, and Complexly co-founder John Green, and creator, curator, and host of The Art Assignment, Sarah Urist Green, produce the new poetry-centric series. The series will launch with a live screening and discussion at the Poetry Foundation on September 12.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video trailer about Ours Poetica.

Ours Poetica, publishing at YouTube.com/OursPoetica every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, will provide an approachable entry point to poetry through a familiar format. The series will feature poets, writers, artists—and sometimes unexpected guests—who have an interest in poetry. Guests including Ashley C. Ford, Shailene Woodley, Erika L. Sanchez, Jacqueline Woodson, and Ilya Kaminsky will make poetry personal by reading a poem that is meaningful to them, and discussing their connection to it, or inspiration for it. Poems come first in Ours Poetica, as the videos will focus on the readers’ hands and the book or notepad from which they’re reading. This emphasis on the words and their placement on the page create an intimate space for viewers. The videos offer the opportunity to experience the poem through the reader’s point of view.

“There are many poetry videos online that focus on the reader’s expression, movement or performance. We saw an opportunity to present a complementary and fresh visual way to discover poetry by focusing on the words, the language, and the readers’ cadences,” said Paige Lewis, Ours Poetica curator. “It’s as if the viewer is holding the book in their own hands while hearing a poem read aloud.”

Lewis curates the featured guests and poem selections, aiming to engage new poetry readers, and poetry lovers, alike. The concept sparked from conversations with Complexly, an online video production company that makes popular educational series, including the channels Crash Course and SciShow, which tout more than 15 million subscribers and over a billion video views.

“Poetry is vital and relevant, however as a non-poet myself I understand how it can be viewed as intimidating or academic,” said John Green, co-founder of Complexly. “We wanted to break down this potential barrier, and create a show for people who love poetry, and even more so, for people who love poetry but don’t know it yet.”

Green, author of several novels including The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down and star of Vlogbrothers, co-produces Ours Poetica with Sarah Urist Green creator and host of The Art Assignment. The duo’s expertise in reaching YouTube viewers and developing vibrant online communities will lend itself to bringing attention to poetry.

“We were drawn to partnering with Paige Lewis and Complexly on this project because we know a curious audience already exists on YouTube, and Ours Poetica can serve as a new discovery point to poetry,” said Sarah Whitcher, marketing and media director at the Poetry Foundation. “It’s a simple yet elegant execution of poem videos, and its approachability reinforces the Poetry Foundation’s belief that poetry is for everyone.”

The series kicks off with the Ours Poetica launch event on Thursday, September 12 at 7:00 PM at the Poetry Foundation at 61 W. Superior Street in Chicago with a reading, screening, and discussion with Lewis, Green, and special guest Kaveh Akbar.

Tri-weekly posting begins on Monday, September 16. For updates, subscribe and follow along on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This feature is brought to us courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, Complexity, and Wikipedia, and Amazon.

Cover of the current issue of Poetry

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  facebook.com/poetryfoundationchildren, Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

About Complexly
Founded in 2012 by Hank and John Green, Complexly is the production company for Crash Course, SciShow, The Art Assignment, and a dozen other education video channels and podcasts. With a worldwide audience of 20 million subscribers and 2.4 billion views on YouTube, Complexly is one of the largest global online educational companies. We make content that reflects our own enthusiasm for understanding and imagining the world complexly.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Five by Jamie Dedes, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 11, 2019) / This short story is dedicated to the world’s refugees, one in every 113 people.

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group / Beguines, pushers of The BeZine of which I am managing editor. Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

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