March 17, 2010

Poet Laureate's Videoconference With Community College Students

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

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.

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 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.

Later, excerpts of the videoconference will be posted on 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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