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Tune In Tonight!

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Hello and happy 2014 from the Poetry and Literature Center. If you’re free this evening, please tune into the PBS NewsHour—the program will include the third segment from Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s signature project, “Where Poetry Lives,” a series of on-locations reports the Laureate is participating in with Jeffrey Brown, the NewsHour’s Chief Correspondent for Arts, Culture, and Society.

Tonight’s segment marks the midway point for the project, and the midway point of the Laureate’s second term. It features Harvard Medical School professor Rafael Campo, as well as several of his students, discussing the role of poetry in medicine and medical care. The NewsHour has also created a wealth of online features in conjunction with the segment, including a lesson plan and a planned Twitter chat.

The project’s first and second segments were also engaging and informative, as they profiled the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Brooklyn, NY and the InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit, MI. The Poet Laureate wrote “Poet’s Notebook” blogs about the Brooklyn and Detroit segments, which showed how she personally connected to both communities and saw how both organizations were using poetry as a powerful tool.

I am especially proud of “Where Poetry Lives,” which helps promote the way poetry lives beyond the walls of the Library, and beyond the walls of academia. Poetry connects to countless Americans, in ways that matter to their everyday lives. As Natasha Trethewey likes to quote, from novelist James Baldwin, poetry re-creates out of the disorder of life that order which is art.

I am also happy to say there are other Laureates on TV these days. Recently 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Philip Levine was interviewed on Moyers and Company, and Peter Armenti’s Oct. 31 post talked about the multiple media appearances by Poets Laureate Robert Pinsky and Billy Collins. My wish for this year: our Poets Laureate  continue to champion poetry on air and online, and people in every part of our country realize—maybe for the first time—why a few lines or even a single image might mean the world to them.