February 4—The Academy of American Poets has unveiled the official poster for National Poetry Month 2009, designed by award-winning graphic designer and illustrator Paul Sahre.
The 2009 poster features a fogged window on which handwritten lines from T. S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" appear: "Do I dare / Disturb the universe?" The delicate scene beyond the window—a spring day bleared with rain and color—intensifies Eliot's question.
For a full view of the poster, visit www.poets.org/poster.
Sahre was approached by the Academy to design the poster after his work—including illustrations for The New York Times and numerous book covers—was brought to the attention of Academy director Tree Swenson by esteemed designer Chip Kidd. Commenting on the poster, Swenson said, "In the shy inquiry drawn in window-pane fog, Paul Sahre subtly echoes what is at the heart of Prufrock's 'overwhelming question.' While reflecting all the timidity in Eliot's poem, Sahre's poster finally reminds the viewer to be bold, to live large."
Each year, the Academy, a nonprofit organization, asks a renowned designer to donate his or her design services to the poster project to help kick-start the National Poetry Month celebration. National Poetry Month was established by the Academy in 1996 to promote and celebrate the reading of poetry throughout the United States. Nearly 200,000 copies of Paul Sahre's poster will be distributed free of charge to schools, libraries, independent bookstores, and individuals nationwide.
Previously, SpotCo, Christoph Niemann, Chip Kidd, design collective Number Seventeen, and Milton Glaser, among others, have participated. A gallery of recent posters can be viewed at www.poets.org/poster.
For a full view of the poster, or to request a free copy for your school, bookstore, library, or community center, visit www.poets/poster.
For the complete text of T. S. Eliot's poem, visit www.poets.org/tseli.
For more information about Paul Sahre, visit www.paulsahre.com.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web, presenting a wealth of great poems, audio recordings, poet biographies, essays, and interactive discussions about poetry; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and our annual series of poetry readings and special events.
The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org.