Bite-Size Poetry

I conceived of the Bite-sized Poetry Project as a way to "bring the poetry of Utah to the people of Utah” (my goal as Poet Laureate), as widely as possible in both cases and in snack-sized portions anyone might sit still for. 

To simplify the selection process, we invited every Utah poet who had published a full-length collection with an independent publisher to participate.  We asked each poet for a poem that could be read aloud in sixty seconds or fewer (a minute being roughly sonnet-length).  I think the shortest was Craig Dworkin’s, at (if I recall correctly) about 3 seconds.  KUED and KUER very graciously agreed to provide resources to video- and audiotape each poet performing the poem, then, beginning in April 2009 (poetry month), we released one a month for a year. Of course, originally my eyes were bigger than our budget. 

I imagined the poems would appear on buses, banners, and possibly napkins at coffee shops.  Fortunately, the Utah Arts Council (now the Utah Division of Arts and Museums) was moving on-line in a big way, so in addition to public radio and TV slots, and with Jennifer Napier-Pierce interviewing me about each poem, we got widespread internet coverage.  To my gratitude, the original poems and videos can still be found today, and new work was generated and uploaded (thanks to TWIG Media Lab) in 2015.  I hope the project gets another update at some point, since there are always new (and increasingly media-savvy) poets coming up.

Katharine Coles