Poet Laureate to Videoconference With Community College Students

Community College Poetry Day is April 1.
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Community College Poetry Day is April 1.

Community College Poetry Day is April 1, and students around the country will be treated to a one-hour videoconference with U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, live from the Library of Congress

The videoconference and the day-long campus poetry festivities are part of Ryan’s "Poetry for the Mind’s Joy" project, sponsored by the Library in collaboration with the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). Individual campuses are planning poetry readings, discussions, slams and other activities.

The videoconference on the process of writing poetry will start at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, April 1. The event will be streamed live and can be viewed at www.loc.gov/poetry/mindsjoy/.

During the videoconference, Ryan will talk with selected students from community college campuses in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas. The schools participating are Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa.; Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis; and Tarrant County College, Northwest Campus, in Fort Worth.

The Library of Congress and CCHA selected the colleges for their expressed interest in the poetry project and for the interest in the humanities on their campuses.

In the videoconference, Ryan will reveal some of her sources of inspiration, show how one of her poems developed through 10 drafts, and ask students to share some of their sources of inspiration and efforts in rewriting. She will also divulge helpful tips about writing poetry. In addition, students and faculty members may discuss with Ryan their campus celebrations for the day.

Ryan’s poetry project "Poetry for the Mind’s Joy," which she initiated during her second year as U.S. Poet Laureate, was designed to celebrate the poetry written by community college students. Besides the videoconference, Ryan’s project included a community college poetry contest administered by CCHA and its executive director, David Berry. Winners of the contest will be posted in an online anthology on the Library’s Website at www.loc.gov/poetry/mindsjoy/ by March 31.

As part of the project, Ryan named April 1 as Community College Poetry Day. April 1 is also the first day of National Poetry Month, a designation inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets in New York.

The videoconference is being held in collaboration with MAGPI, the Internet2 Mid-Atlantic Point of Presence and the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Video Network, which are donating the time and resources required for the event and for streaming it live to www.loc.gov/poetry/mindsjoy/ for viewing. Later, excerpts of the videoconference will be posted on www.loc.gov/poetry/ for students, their professors, poets and the public.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress is the home of the U.S. Poet Laureate, a position that has existed since 1937.

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