According to the results of a recent survey, over 75% of the people who use Poets.org share one characteristic: that they first developed an interest in poetry before their eighteenth birthday. With young people spending an average of 16.7 hours a week online, it is clear that in the long term, our best opportunity to reach new readers and writers of poetry is in their early years.
That's the reason I'm writing to you today: to ask you to join me in a new Academy of American Poets campaign to dramatically expand our programs aimed at young users of Poets.org by taking fuller advantage of the technologies that the web makes available to us.
Highlights of our initiative will include:
• A new teen-specific area on Poets.org with resources specially designed for younger readers
• Online chats between young readers and established poets
• Free new videos featuring favorite poets reading and discussing their work
• New and improved features at the mobile version of our website, Poets.org/m
• Frequently updated content and resources in social networking platforms like Facebook and Myspace
These are just a few of the aspects of our project—all aimed directly at young people who need to hear our message now more than at any other time.
But in order to succeed, we need your help. These efforts will require funds for web programming and development, as well as bandwith and new software. During this back-to-school season, we raised $18,440 toward this project. We are now reaching out to Poets.org users like you to raise an additional $10,000 to reach our goal and move the project forward.
With your help today, we can help start more people on the road toward appreciating poetry and, indeed, the lyricism of language and the magic and mystery of all the writing arts.
If you could contribute $10, $25, or even $100 dollars to this project, it would help us tremendously. Plus, for a donation of $25 or more, we will send you a copy of How to Eat a Poem—an anthology of poems for middle-grade readers—for your favorite young lover of poetry.
Donate today. Contributions in any amount will be greatly appreciated and will help us dramatically expand our online resources for teen readers.
Executive Director, Academy of American Poets
P.S. Again, let me know if you would like to receive How to Eat a Poem as a token of our thanks. And please pass this email on to anyone who cares as passionately as you do about creating the next generation of poetry lovers.