MtvU – the MTV channel for college campuses – chose John Ashbery as its poet laureate. At first, it sounded like a well-meaning attempt that would accomplish little. However, I was less cynical after reading about the contest associated with the new appointment. A contest with a real prize!
In another first, mtvU will help sponsor a poetry contest for college students. The winner, chosen by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, will have a book published next year by HarperCollins as part of the National Poetry Series. – via the New York Times
I am glad that I haven’t heard too many snotty reactions to this. Remember when people pooped their diapers about Oprah’s book club? Like suddenly a book isn’t a real piece of literature anymore because people are actually reading it. Of course, I only say that because I am too naive to comprehend Oprah’s nefarious plan to control what America reads.
Introducing new audiences to art is a good thing. (Now if the way you introduce it is to chop it to bits and mess with it until it’s unrecognizable and bland, that’s another story …)