WGBH and David Grubin Productions, in association with the Poetry Foundation, undertook this project in order to expose a diverse audience to a broad spectrum of poetic voices, build an appreciation and an audience for poetry, and increase the presence of poets and poetry within the two most ubiquitous media in American popular culture–the Web and TV. In addition to presentation on this Web site, the videos will appear on local public television stations at unexpected moments during their broadcast schedules. The partners hope that poetry will become a permanent part of the PBS landscape, offering moments of meditation and even revelation throughout the day.
The poetry films of Seamus Heaney, Philip Levine, and Charles Simic were created by Leita Luchetti.
Independent of the videos created for PBS, 34 animated films were created by students working with docUWM, a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the university’s creative writing program, in association with the Poetry Foundation. Aiming to focus a new generation of filmmakers on poetry as subject matter, the project encouraged film students to read widely from the canon of contemporary poetry and, working closely with poets and scholars, effectively translate poetry to the screen using an array of film and animation techniques. The student-produced films were supervised by Liam Callanan, a creative writing professor at the UW-Milwaukee School of Letters and Science, and Brad Lichtenstein, a Peck School of the Arts film instructor.