Sunday, October 07, 2007

FBP & The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

After the awesome, exhausting spectacle of producing The Great Art Party, I was looking forward to a quiet week recuperating in the wreck of my home. The final 80-hour weeks of Art Party push left me with towers of unwashed dishes, clothes wilting in corners, papers scattered everywhere, and rooms dumped with misc. signage, tubs of orange decorations, easels, plinths, receipts, whatnot and hoo-ha waiting for sorting.

You can imagine my reaction when I learned that a film crew from the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer was doing a feature on the plight of small poetry presses and planned to arrive at my house in two days to interview me. Aaagh! No rest for the weary -- I called up a friend and we spent two manic days putting my house together. Right on time the crew arrived: producer Mary Jo Brooks, light & sound guy, cameraman, and my interviewer, senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown.

For a small local press like Floating Bridge to get national exposure is a rare and vital opportunity. But am I a dynamic, focused media spokesperson? Not even on a good day. Luckily, our Editorial Board helped coach me on what to say, how to react or not to react, what sound bites to be sure to include, etc. Unfortunately, I was an exhausted, nervous mess. Okay, roll the camera!

Jeffrey Brown:     So, you started a poetry press!

Jeff Crandall:        Yes (pause). Poetry is . . . good.

I expect most of me will end up on the cutting room floor.

In spite of my zombie-like demeanor, they were impressed that we were an all-volunteer organization, that we had started the press with only $300 and that we are still going strong.

Thanks to funding from The Poetry Foundation, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer is doing regular features on poetry from around the country. For this segment they also interviewed people at Copper Canyon, Open Books, Wood Works Press, and Raven Chronicles, and filmed FBP Chapbook winner Nance Van Winckel's reading at Open Books.

Check out the impressive Lehrer poetry webpage:

and their feature on Paul Hunter:

and here's an article about their interview with Copper Canyon:

The next day after the interview, I met up with the crew at Hugo House where they took some film of me working in our tiny office and I was able to snap their photo posted here. There's no word yet when this segment will air. We'll keep you posted.

-- Jeff Crandall


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