After a long and lovely holiday season, it’s nice to be back in the office with the whole of 2013 ahead of us. And what a year it will be—the Poetry and Literature Center will celebrate 75 years of Consultants and Poets Laureate. We kick off our big year in style, with a reading to honor our new Bobbitt Prize winner Gerald Stern and a reading by our new Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, as part of the Library’s exhibit “The Civil War in America.”
Speaking of the Poet Laureate, there’s a lovely piece on her and her upcoming residency in the Poetry and Literature Center—a first for a Laureate! We are very excited to have her join the staff and work in our Poetry Room, and we’re excited to see what her tenure here brings—she has talked about holding “office hours,” for one, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to the attic.
This spring will also see the launch of our redesigned website, with several new features. First will be our “Interview” section, with an interview of Joshua Beckman conducted by PLC staffer Caitlin Rizzo. This interview will reference the piece Joshua wrote and performed as part of our “Literary Birthdays” event on Walt Whitman last spring—a great way to continue the conversation about one of America’s greatest poets.
We are also excited to launch our “Poetry of America” website, to coincide with the relaunch of the Library’s “Song of America” website. “Poetry of America” will feature essays and recordings examining poetry’s connection to the history and identity of our country, and argue for the art’s powerful role in helping us make sense of our lives. Later on in the year we will add our “Audio Archives” page to the PLC website—this page will serve as a portal to all of the Library’s literary recordings from our seventy-five years and present streaming audio of selected highlights.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that we will soon be adding an important constituency to our ranks: Friends of the Poetry and Literature Center. While the office works hard to expand our programming and support our Laureate, we are eager to connect to a larger community and work together, on behalf of the nation’s oldest federal institution, to further the cause of poetry and literature.
Of course, there is much more coming this year, but I wouldn’t want to give everything away! I hope you have a great year, and I look forward to celebrating our great writers together.