2015 Press Releases

-We the Poets- --A Partnership Between the National Archives and the Academy of American Poets--Celebrates American Archives Month
Press Release · Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Washington, DC

First the first time ever, the National Archives has partnered with the Academy of American Poets in a collaboration with citizen poets. "We the Poets" resulted in 12 poems inspired by records in the National Archives.

The first featured poem is “The Buttonhook” by Mary Jo Salter, which was inspired by a National Archives photograph of Ellis Island showing uniformed inspectors examining newly arriving immigrants’ eyes. Biographical sketches of all the participating poets are available online.

Poems will be posted online on the National Archives Prologue: Pieces of History blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during October, which is American Archives Month. The poets recited their original poems at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. These performances can be viewed on the National Archives YouTube Channel. The poems and performances will also be available on Poets.org, the Academy of American Poets’ website.

“We are pleased to partner with the American Academy of Poets to celebrate American Archives Month with this unique project,” said Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. “These poems serve as evidence that records in the Archives aren’t just historical documents, but they are tangible connections to our nation’s past that inspire vivid emotional and creative responses. We are excited to share these original works and hope they help inspire others to explore our records.”

“As one of the nation’s oldest cultural organizations promoting the art of poetry, we understand the importance of preserving and making public historical documents and artifacts that elucidate the present in powerful ways,” said Academy of American Poets Executive Director Jennifer Benka. “Poets writing today are inevitably in conversation with their predecessors. Our National Archives can inspire those conversations and deepen our connection to the past. It’s important to recognize and celebrate their existence.”

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at Archives.gov.

The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the Academy’s popular website; American Poets, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. Since its founding, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization. Today, the Academy of American Poets is supported by the financial contributions of more than 8,000 individual members nationwide, and funding from private foundations, corporations, and government sources such as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit Poets.org or contact Stacy Lasner, Marketing & Advertising Coordinator at slasner@poets.org; 212-274-0343, ext. 22.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

Follow the American Archives Month celebration using hashtag #ArchivesMonth.

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