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60 Minutes or Less: Poetry readings on SoundCloud

ViolSpol1946. The late Spolis considered by many mother American improvisational theatre.

Viola Spolin in 1946. The late Spolin is considered by many the mother of American improvisational theatre.

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Updated: April 26, 2013 5:20PM



What: During April, the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation invites the public to read and record a poem via SoundCloud, an audio social-networking site. The poems can be classics, obscurities or even something written by the readers themselves. Poetry fans not interested in contributing can log on and listen to the posted recitations.

“It’s almost like poetry radio,” said Catherine Halley, the foundation’s director of digital programs. She compared Record-a-Poem to National Public Radio’s StoryCorps program, in which everyday people record anecdotes about their lives.

The foundation added about 45-50 poetry readings a day during the beginning of the project, and Halley expects that number to grow.

Insider’s take: “During our open house,” Halley said, “we recorded a bunch of people reading poems. It was like poetry karaoke. We found that people were really incredibly excited about it. We wanted a place to put these poems and share them with the world. We thought it would be great for other people to hear this and contribute their voices as well. So, we decided to put it on SoundCloud for that reason, and it serves the larger mission of the foundation as well.”

Particulars: To take part in Record-a-Poem any time during April, simply log onto poetryfoundation.org. Easy-to-follow instructions are supplied. Questions? (312) 787-7070.

Kyle MacMillan



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