I seem to remember (but can't find) an interview circa 1996 with then poet laureate Donald Hall saying it was his wish to expand poetry's reach into all forms of media. If memory serves, he mentioned having poetry regularly featured as segments on news and information shows and even satellite radio. Well, maybe satellite radio is a ways off, but injecting poetry on the U.S. airways seems to be an active pursuit of the Poetry Foundation.
Not only is the Poetry Foundation building a deep archive of audio and video recordings of poets discussing and reading their poetry, they are infusing mainstream media with verse through an outreach project called the Poetry Radio Project. In partnership with American Public Media, this series is valiant attempt to bring poetry to an unsuspecting audience, in my opinion. APM poetry programming includes features on Marketplace, Performance Today, Speaking of Faith, The Story, and The Splendid Table.
On my commute home last week, I was treated to poetry on the personal finance show Marketplace. And when I visited APR's landing page, I found this gem of an interview with Phil Levine discussing factory work through his classic poem, "What Work Is." Here's the interview:
Hope you get a chance to check out these resources. Much of what I listen to is available as podcasts—perfect for my two-hour commute to and from work.
Also, I should mention, though this is not new, that the Poetry Foundation has partnered with the The News Hour With Jim Lerher for a Poetry Series.
When I see efforts like these, along with the proliferation of poets in MFA programs, slams, self publishing and indie publishers, even poetry at the White House, it's hard to believe that poetry is declining in the United States. I just don't see it. Now, sales of poetry books? That's whole other blog post!