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veritasHarvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1335 January 2007

Harvard University Library Notes / January 2007 / No. 1335

Poetry Room Collaboration Earns Grammy Nomination

A four-disc box set of poetry that includes several contributions from the audio collection of HCL's Woodberry Poetry Room has been nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Historical Album. Released in April 2006 on the Shout Factory label, Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (1888–2006), features 128 recordings that span nearly 120 years, dating back to the earliest days of sound recording.

Don Share, curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room, collaborated with Poetry on Record's producer, Rebekah Presson Mosby, a poetry editor and former arts reporter on NPR, to select items from the Poetry Room's collection. The "spoken" poetry archive of the Woodberry Poetry Room dates back to 1931, and, in the years since, virtually every major poet has been recorded reading or lecturing at Harvard, providing the University with recordings held by no other institution. This allows the Poetry Room to be a frequent contributor of audio to documentary filmmakers, radio and TV producers, and commercial publishers for its rare audio materials.

"We always work closely with the producers of these sets, answering queries, helping them narrow down selections, and sorting out rights issues," says Share. Harvard's contributions to the set included recordings of John Berryman ("The Lay of Ike"), Ezra Pound ("Hugh Selwyn Mauberly"), and Seamus Heaney ("Death of a Naturalist"). The set also contains recordings by Sylvia Plath that were licensed from a third party due to rights issues, but that were made at Harvard and exist in the Poetry Room archive.

Poetry on Record also features such renowned poets as Elizabeth Bishop, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Adrienne Rich, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and William Butler Yeats, among many others. The Grammy award ceremony is scheduled for February 11.


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