Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beat Blog: The Beginning

by Steve Downing, Acting Producer of The Beat

In the first two weeks of The Beat, Northern Community Radio’s Morning Show poem-for-a-day, we’ve featured some very famous, very dead poets with Minnesota connections: Gregory Corso, a charter member of the Beats back in the 1950s; John Berryman, a highly acclaimed poet and teacher when he jumped to his death from a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in 1972; James Wright, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet who taught at both the University of Minnesota and Macalaster; and Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota’s current Poet Laureate.

And we’ve included poets who are known (as poets) only to their families and friends.  In time, as this project heats up, you’ll even hear poems written and read by kids who don’t think of themselves as poets. There are really only two criteria at The Beat: 1) the poetry has to be good, and 2) Minnesota has to figure prominently in the poet’s personal story.

An RFP (Request For Poems) is floating around the state now, after a few strategic emails, and poetry is pouring in from everywhere, particularly from established, published poets who are well connected to each other and to the grapevine and who know what a unique opportunity The Beat is. We won’t be able to use every submission, but we promise to look carefully at everything, without bias as to where it came from.

Listen for The Beat after Best Wishes, between 7:30 and 8:00 Monday through Friday mornings. We’ll likely find other times to use it, too. We’re making this up as we go along, in true Northern Community Radio fashion, and the feedback is telling us we’re most definitely onto something

The Beat is funded by Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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