The Big Pitch: How can America’s new 97-year-old poet laureate revive interest in poetry?

DAVID FINN, Ruder Finn, New York

DAVID FINN, Ruder Finn, New York

DAVID FINN, Ruder Finn, New York

It’s very bold to appoint him at his age. But Michelangelo died at the

age of 89 and he was doing his best work right until the end. Kunitz has

lived so long in the world of poetry and he’s so highly esteemed that he

can become a source of new ideas at his age. He could talk about the

wisdom of age and insights on what he’s learned in life. He may not be

able to follow (former US poet laureate Robert) Pinsky, who was very

active and spoke all over the place and had many TV appearances. But he

can write new poetry, hold readings, make statements, write articles, be

interviewed and find ways to encourage young poets in schools. Like

Robert Frost at the White House, he’ll be highly revered and add stature

and importance to the role. At that age, he can still be a leader and


BOB FRAUSE, The Frause Group, Seattle

I’d say reviving public enthusiasm in poetry may be a tall order, but I

believe the challenge can be met. Even at a time when interest in

literature is on the wane, it seems the time has never been better to

involve the country in poetry. Kids all over America have been inventing

their own forms of verse for the past 20 years. Rap and graffiti are

just samples of a new communication fabric that is emerging from kids

around the world, whether we like it or not. Why not harness this

potential and bring the many forms of poetry to the rest of the country?

With a little help from public and private interests, the PR industry

and America’s youth, Kunitz could serve best in his new position by

creating and leading what I’ll coin ’Young America’s Campaign for Poetry

in Public Places.’ Who better to bring poetry out of the closet and into

public view?

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