National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia Helps Celebrate 200th Birthday of Longfellow at Issuance of Commemorative Stamp
Poetry Out Loud state champions from New Jersey and Massachusetts also featured in ceremony
March 15, 2007
New York City, NY -- On March 15, 2007, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia will join the U.S. Postal Service celebration of the 200th birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with the issuance of the 39-cent Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commemorative stamp. Longfellow is considered the "uncrowned poet laureate" of 19th-century America. He wrote more than 400 poems and is remembered for narrative poems such as "Paul Revere's Ride" and "The Song of Hiawatha." Longfellow is the 23rd honoree in the Literary Arts commemorative stamp series. He joins other honored literary legends including Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Herman Melville and John Steinbeck.
Chairman Gioia is the keynote speaker at this first-day-of-issuance ceremony, which takes place during the year's biggest philatelic convention, the Spring Postage Stamp Mega Event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. An acclaimed and award-winning poet, literary anthologist, and influential critic, Gioia's essay Longfellow in the Aftermath of Modernism is seen as one of the best defenses of the poet.
"Longfellow is not only a great poet, he also did as much as any author or politician of his time to shape the way 19th-century Americans saw themselves, their nation and their past," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.
Other speakers include Katherine Tobin, member, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, Eric Jackson, President, American Stamp Dealers Association (ASDA); and Peter Mastrangelo, Executive Director, American Philatelic Society (APS), and David Failor, Executive Director, Stamp Services, U.S. Postal Service.
Two state champions from the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest also will take part in the ceremony. Massachusetts 2006 Poetry Out Loud state champion Vinh Hua and New Jersey 2006 Poetry Out Loud state champion Teika Monai Chapman each will recite a poem by Longfellow. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. State Poetry Out Loud contests currently are taking place across the country; the National Finals will be held on May 1, 2007 in Washington, DC. Visit www.poetryoutloud.org for additional information.
For more information on the first-day-of-issuance ceremony, which is free and open to the public, visit www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007stamps/.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency