New York, January 31, 2011 — The Academy of American Poets unveiled today the official 2011 National Poetry Month poster, featuring a line of poetry by the beloved poet Elizabeth Bishop and designed by acclaimed graphic designer Stephen Doyle. The poster appears just in time for the February 8 centennial of Elizabeth Bishop's birth.
About the process of interpreting Elizabeth Bishop's poem, Stephen Doyle observed:
"Bright objects do indeed hypnotize the mind, but are we talking about bright as in illuminated, or illuminating?" The idea that intelligence can be hypnotizing, especially when it is a metaphor for celebrating National Poetry Month, is exhilarating. When I read 'A Word with You' by Elizabeth Bishop — who is alleged to have lived next door to my home in Greenwich Village — I knew I had discovered a line that could light up my imagination. Neon is not usually a medium that you associate with poetry, but for me it created a dynamic contrast with the natural world, and seemed an apt way to commemorate this profound thought. This poster is a literal interpretation of a line that transcends the rational. And after all, isn't that what poetry is all about?"
Doyle commissioned Let There be Neon to fabricate the line of Bishop's verse on a neon sign. The sign was then photographed at the New York Botanical Garden by Doyle's friend and collaborator, Victor Schrager. The image suggests the lush green of Bishop's years in Brazil, but was actually shot on a day when New York was in the midst of heavy snowfall. Doyle commented that Shrager "seemed blithely unaware that he, too, was under the hypnosis of this brilliant line."
Download a full view of the poster at Poets.org.
Doyle, the winner of the National Design Award in Communications in 2010, was approached by the Academy of American Poets to design the poster after his work was brought to the attention of Academy director Tree Swenson by the esteemed designer Chip Kidd. Each year, the Academy asks a renowned designer to donate his or her design services to the poster project to help kick-off National Poetry Month, which is celebrated throughout the month of April. National Poetry Month was created by the Academy in 1996 to build a love of poetry throughout the United States. The 200,000 posters will be distributed, free of charge, to schools, libraries, independent bookstores, and individuals nationwide.
In recent years, the National Poetry Month poster has featured the work of some of America's most talented designers and illustrators, including Marian Bantjes, Paul Sahre, SpotCo, Christoph Niemann, Chip Kidd, Milton Glaser, and design collective Number Seventeen, among others. The complete gallery of National Poetry Month posters can be viewed at www.poets.org/poster.
Other celebrations of Bishop's centenary include numerous public readings of her poetry across the country and the publication by Farrar, Straus and Giroux of the definitive edition of Bishop's work.
To request a free copy for your school, bookstore, library, or community center, visit www.poets.org/poster.
For more information about Stephen Doyle and Doyle Partners, visit www.doylepartners.com.