Public Poetry brought Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, to Houston Texas, September 8-11, 2015. During that time, he launched the Favorite Poem Project in our city with Mayor Annise Parker, city officials and a cross section of the public reading poems and speaking movingly about why they selected their poem; gave a talk on ekphrasis at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and participated in the launch and book signing of the ARTlines2 Anthology: Art Becomes Poetry there; gave a talk & reading to students at UH-Downtown and visited 350 very diverse high school students! It was an amazing three days!
Our organization began working with Robert Pinsky in 2014 when we asked him to be one of the judges for the ARTlines2 competition and to write a judge’s statement for the Anthology we published. After that, we noticed that our city had not yet participated in his signature “Favorite Poem Project.” This national and international project gives ordinary people the opportunity to “come out” as poetry lovers by reading a favorite poem in public. Taking poetry public is what our organization is all about, so we arranged for his visit to Houston..
And the beat goes on…Favorite Poem reading have become a regular feature of our monthly library readings. Anyone can come up to the mike and read a poem by their favorite poet, adding a few words about why they chose it.