The Favorite Poem Project and Chicago’s own Poetry Foundation are seeking to document the role of poetry in the lives of Chicagoans through their just announced Favorite Poem Project: Chicago.
Do you have a favorite poem? The Chicago Poetry Foundation wants to know.
For me it's probably Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" because I always wonder, what if? What if I take Clark instead of Ashland, the road less traveled? Will I get there as fast or will I find somewhere to stop along the way? What if I married at 18...what if I never married...what if I'd gone to Northwestern instead of Illinois? What if President Kennedy didn't go to Dallas? What if Martin Luther King Jr. hadn't gone to Memphis or Lincoln hated the theater?
Now everyone in Chicago will have an opportunity to choose their favorite poem and write about why they selected it. Whether you're 7 or 107, rich or poor, a high school drop-out or a PhD, the Chicago Poetry Foundation invites residents of the city and suburbs to submit their favorite poems to Favorite Poem Project: Chicago no later than November 30, 2013.
Five poems will be selected from all the entries. They will be featured in a series of videos that will launch on the Chicago Poetry Foundation website during National Poetry Month in April 2014.
Your poem can be fun and lighthearted such as 5th grader Katherine Mechling selection of Roethke's, "The Sloth", or dark, serious or sad such as Gwendolyn Brooks, "We Real Cool," the selection of Mass School of Art student, John Ulrich:
We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Mechling's and Ulrich's selections were taken from the original Favorite Poem Project founded by Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997.
During this initiative, 18,000 Americans shared their favorite poems resulting in the collection of 50 short video documentaries that showcase individual Americans reading and speaking personally about poems they love on the Favorite Poem Project website.
The Chicago Favorite Poem Project is a rebirth of this popular initiative that celebrates, documents and encourages poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.
“A favorite poem can be a talisman or mantra, a clue, exemplar, landmark or guiding star, and dwells deep down in our psyches,” said Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito. “The readings on the videos will be investigative, probing, revelatory, and ultimately autobiographical and moving. Chicago possesses a rich poetry tradition, so we are expecting a lot here from our fellow citizens.”
If you would like to share your favorite poem with Show Me Chicago let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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