Greetings, Houstonians! As some of you may know, one of the poet laureate projects I am undertaking is the Favorite Poem Project Anthology for our city that will give Houstonians a chance to share their best-loved poems for a book in print. The project is modeled on former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s national project. Pinsky solicited submissions from the American public at large, and individuals were asked to share their favorite poem and the reason that poem was deeply meaningful to them. He received more than 1,800 poems from across the country. Pinsky and his team selected a diverse range of poems for inclusion in a print anthology that they called Americans’ Favorite Poems. They also published an educator’s edition called An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology. Pinsky’s team also interviewed and videotaped Americans reading and discussing their favorite poems, and some of those videos are available on the project's website.
One of the reasons I chose this project is that when I was a student in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, Pinsky was my teacher for a semester and he asked each of us, his students, to craft our own favorite poem anthology. This was long before his terms as U.S. Poet Laureate. I’ve kept my anthology of favorites to this day and for many years now have asked my own students to develop favorite poem anthologies of their own—always with amazing results!
I’m working with a superb team of local poets to collect poems for the Houston anthology which will be published in spring 2017 by the literary press, Calypso Editions. The Department of English of the University of Houston-Downtown has generously agreed to fund the anthology’s initial publication.
If you’d like to be part of this city project, please consider submitting one of your own favorite poems—and be sure to tell us why this particular poem has been especially important to you! We will be accepting submissions through midnight, Friday, July 1, 2016.