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Katonah Poetry Series: Video Reflects Series' Art

KATONAH, N.Y. — For the past 40-plus years, the Katonah Village Library has hosted some of the most influential American poets, according to organizing members of the Katonah Poetry Series, which has been in existence since 1967.

Recently, however, the series has gone digital. With the help of a local college student this fall, the Katonah Poetry Series planned a promotional video that marks the influence of the series, as well as the importance of poetry as an art form.

“Poetry asks for our participation more than any other genre,” said Billy Collins, United States Poet Laureate, in the video. “Whether you are reading a poem in your study or in a public venue, you are asked to bring something to that poem and to appreciate its ambiguity. In a live reading, you get a double sense that not only is there something going on, but here is that man or woman enacting it in the present tense.”

Collins was the director of the series from 1991 to 2008, and since has been the poet advisor. His interview was the backdrop to the video, which lasts just under two minutes in length.

Caleb Foss is a senior at SUNY Purchase, where he studies film, and was the director and creative hands behind the video.  Foss was brought on board and delivered a true representation of what the program has to offer, according to series president Rebecca Rogan.

“We asked him to make something very short that could easily be loaded onto YouTube, but also capturing the essence of why the Katonah Poetry Series matters,” Rogan said.

The series garners some of the best and brightest, having brought in five U.S. Poets Laureate – known as the nation’s official poet at that time, and 12 Pulitzer Prize winners. Foss said he believes that what he created portrays the benefits of the art.

“It’s a very genuine piece, it’s very honest about what’s being offered, and what’s exciting about the series,” he said. “It’ll get people excited about poetry for all the right reasons.”

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