Ours Poetica, a new tri-weekly video series from The Poetry Foundation and Complexly

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.


ABOUT

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.

2019 U.S. Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence: Steven Bellin-Oka

Poet Steven Bellin-Oka © Kenichi Oka

“My own work deals with cultural memory and how traumatic national events such as the Civil War are remembered, misremembered, reimagined, and reinterpreted by Americans living in later historical periods. As William Faulkner puts it in his novel Absalom, Absalom, ‘maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished.’ In other words, the past is never just the past—it co-exists with the present and shapes it, like double exposure on a piece of film.” Steven Bellin-Oka



The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), the Poetry Foundation, the National Parks Service, and the Gettysburg Foundation announce Steve Bellin-Oka as the 2019 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence. Poets in Parks is a partnership expressly designed and curated to raise the profile of poetry as a vibrant and modern public art. Bellin-Oka is the second Poets in Parks resident. He will spend one month in residency at Gettysburg National Military Park with a $1,000 stipend.

Entrance to the Gettysburg National Park courtesy of Sallicio under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

“The beauty and variety of United States national parks provide fertile ground for growing dialogue around poetry, shared history, and art as a public service,” said Stephen Young, program director at the Poetry Foundation. “We’re excited to have Mr. Bellin-Oka continue these conversations as the new Poets in Parks resident. The relationship between the past in present in his work is well-suited to Gettysburg, where history is both commemorated and alive.”

Gettysburg and Beyond

The National Park Service’s cultural mandate to recognize and foster a democratic and participatory dialogue through the arts has never been more important. The current national debate about the representation and memorial of Civil War history provides an opportunity for education and discussion.

Bellin-Oka’s poems written during the residency will expand those conversations. He will begin his month-long residency at Gettysburg National Military Park in September, writing, leading workshops, and sharing his poetry in a public reading on October 11, 2019. After his residency, he will travel to Washington, D.C. and to the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in May, 2020 on a poetry tour with the first Poets in Parks resident, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa, a first generation Chicana born and raised in San Gabriel, California

A Poet Connected to the Past

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Bellin-Oka grew up surrounded by Civil War battlefields; he takes the not-so-ghostly presences of history seriously, and intends to explore them during his time at Gettysburg.

He plans to write poems that imagine Abraham Lincoln preparing to give The Gettysburg Address, the experiences of soldiers on both sides, and new works in response to Civil War poems of the battlefield.

Bellin-Oka earned his MFA from the University of Virginia and his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is a 2019 Tulsa Artists Fellow, awarded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. His debut collection, Instructions for Seeing a Ghost, won the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, and will be published by the University of North Texas Press in 2020.

RELATED:

Poems online by 2019 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence, Steven Bellin-Oka:

Poems online by 2017 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Resience, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa: 

This post complied courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, The National Parks Foundation, Wikipedia, and Steven Bellin-Oka’s and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa’s websites.

*****

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our 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.

You can follow The Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook and Twitter.

*****

The National Parks Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization offering artist-in-residence programs, museum in-loan programs, and workshops nationwide at a number of national parks. To apply to open programs, visit HERE. .

The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic, educational organization operating in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and to educate the public about their significance.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poemsLevure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)
* The Damask Rose Garden, In a Woman’s Voice

A mostly 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: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The 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, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



 

Celebrating American She-Poets (6): Young People’s Poet Laureate, Jacqueline Woods … Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson by David Shankbone under CC By SA 3.0 license

Jacqueline Woodson by David Shankbone under CC By SA 3.0 license

American poet and writer, Jacqueline Woods (b. 1963) was named Young People’s Poet Laureate in June last year by The Poetry Foundation. The $25,000 laureate award is given every two years to poets devoted to writing quality poetry for children and youth. Poetry Foundation President, Robert Polito, said Jacqueline is an “elegant, daring, and restlessly innovative writer.”

Jacqueline has written some thirty books. She’s won a National Book Award and three Newberry Honor Medals.

51-Pl9BJ7IL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I just finished reading Brown Girl Dreaming, a memoir in free verse that is not just for brown girls. It can be read in one sitting but like all good poetry is meant to be relished … there is much to savor.

What I like about this work – and what in part accounts for its popularity – is that it puts family life and youthful reflection smack-dab in the context of history. Woodson grew-up during the civil rights movement and tells of watching the Black Panthers on television and sitting in the back of the bus, though Woodson’s mother made a point of affirming for her children that they were as good as anyone.

I enjoyed – and think most kids would too – how Woodson writes about the contradictions in family stories. The day, for example, that she is born is reported differently by mother, father and grandmother, each absolutely sure that he or she is the only one who got it right.

This is a wonderful book for any young person. I venture to say, however,  if yours is a child who dreams of being a writer and can’t envision it happening, then you must put this book in that child’s hands. S/he will be forever grateful.

© 2016, Jamie Dedes