Not done yet
I am writing to express my appreciation for Bob Hoover's coverage of the International Poetry Forum ("Poetry Forum Utters Its Final Verse," Feb. 13) and for the generous and supportive separate editorial ("Poetic Injustice," Feb. 13).
There were two other items that I stated publicly on that night that the Post-Gazette could not have printed without being accused of self-promotion.
When Mona Van Duyn was the U.S. poet laureate in the 1990s, she said in her farewell address at the Library of Congress that Pittsburgh was the only city in the country where poetry programs were reviewed in the daily paper. And the Post-Gazette is also the only newspaper in the country where poems are printed weekly on the op-ed page not as filler but as integral (not ornamental) forms of public speech.
Finally, mine was not the final reading of the current Forum season. Ron Padgett will read on March 11 and Adam Zagajewski, the leading Polish poet of his generation, will read on April 14.
International Poetry Forum
I applaud Bob Hoover and the editorial board of the Post-Gazette for supporting Samuel Hazo and the International Poetry Forum.
Pittsburgh will lose an exceptional venue for the spoken word when the forum closes at the end of this season. As Dr. Hazo stresses, "For poetry to be fully appreciated, it should be read aloud."
For 43 years, the forum has brought more than 600 poets and performers to Pittsburgh, as well as to Wolf Trap and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
Here in Pittsburgh we have been privileged to hear poets from all over the United States and from 35 foreign countries. Nobel Prize-winning poets, Pulitzer prize winners and National Book awardees have read in Oakland.
The forum has also reached out to local school districts through its Poets-in-Person program. Poets visit classrooms, share their work, conduct writing workshops and talk about poetry with students.
In the poem published in the Feb. 14 paper, "And the Time Is," Dr. Hazo reminds us, "and the hands of the clock say -- be grateful." And I am grateful for the treasures that we have received from the forum.
I am concerned that unless we find funding to revive this exceptional Pittsburgh institution that Dr. Hazo's final line "and the hands of the clock say -- forever" will be fulfilled as we lose the living treasure which we have in the International Poetry Forum.