Borders’ Open-Door Poetry

Borders — partnering with The Student Publishing Program, one of the top high school writing programs in the country — has launched an interesting new online program promoting poetry called Open-Door Poetry:

“Open-Door Poetry” is for anyone who has ever wanted to communicate to others in some way while opening the door for viewers to become active participants. Each compelling episode features seven to 10 “spoken-word” and “academic” poets giving writing advice or reciting poems live from locations ranging from the streets and rooftops in New York City to the living room in the home of the poet. Each episode also features a writing advice column and a quarterly “Open-Door Poetry Contest” mixed with music and high energy to create an exciting educational and uniquely entertaining show.

The first episode is a quality effort that includes poetry and commentary from an interesting mix of poets, with Patricia Smith, Oveous Maximus, Taylor Mali, Mark Strand, Paul Muldoon and others, each with a great “chapter” intro. Several of the readings lack the energy of a live performance as they’re filmed in odd locations without an audience, but I think it works well for the target audience and allows the listener to focus more on the words than the spectacle. Each poet also has a nice bio page with links to available books and CDs, though oddly enough, no link to or mention of their individual websites.

The first contest is being judged by Strand — accepting both text and video submissions — and the advice column is actually an interactive Q&A with Muldoon.

Good stuff. Kudos to Borders!

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