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Sunday, April 22, 2012

US Postal praises 10 Great US Poets

The US Postal Service has announced publication of 10 Forever stamps honouring 20th Century US Poets. Forever stamps are stamps which keep their current market value for posting as long as you need them. (But, as the old saying puts it, Nothing lasts forever.) Postage stamp collectors have twenty days to buy these new artworks - and a lifetime to relish the works and writings by and about their favourite poets. There's even a quote from the poet on the back of the stamp! 

The Twentieth-Century Poets honored by the Postal Service include Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. Each stamp features a photograph of one of the 10 poets. Text on the back of the stamp sheet includes an excerpt from one poem by each poet. The art director was Derry Noyes.
Elizabeth Bishop was known as a "writer's writer," suggesting the admiration other poets feel for her work. The photograph of Elizabeth Bishop was taken in her home in Key West, FL, by Josef Breitenbach.
E.E. Cummings expertly manipulated the rules of grammar, punctuation, rhyme and meter to create poems that resembled modernist paintings more than traditional verse. The E.E. Cummings stamp features a photograph of Cummings taken in 1935 by Edward Weston.
An award-winning author of more than 20 collections of poetry, Denise Levertov wrote mystical, meditative poems about nature, spirituality, love, and loss as well as antiwar poems. The Denise Levertov stamp features a photograph of Levertov taken by Rollie McKenna.
Sylvia Plath probed the conflict between inner self and outward appearance. Her complex body of work includes deftly imagined poems about marriage and motherhood, gender and power, death and resurrection, and the search for self. The Sylvia Plath stamp features a photograph of Plath taken by Rollie McKenna.
The Elizabeth Bishop, E.E. Cummings, Denise Levertov and Sylvia Plath photographs are part of the collection at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Joseph Brodsky, an exile from the Soviet Union, was the first foreign-born poet to be appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. The Joseph Brodsky stamp features a photograph of Brodsky standing on a pier on the Hudson River in New York City. The photograph was taken by Nancy Crampton.
Gwendolyn Brooks is best remembered for distinctive, lyrical portraits of everyday urban life. The Gwendolyn Brooks stamp features a photograph of Brooks in her Chicago home. The photograph was taken in 1987 by Jon Randolph.
The poems of Robert Hayden reflect his brilliant craftsmanship, his historical conscience and his gift for storytelling. The Robert Hayden stamp features a photograph of Robert Hayden taken around 1975 by Timothy Franklin. The photograph is part of the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress.
Theodore Roethke created intimate, introspective poems distinguished by lyricism and a sensual use of imagery. The Theodore Roethke stamp features a photograph of Roethke taken in London, England.
The poems of Wallace Stevens explore language and meaning that make reading a distinctive experience. The Wallace Stevens stamp features a photograph of Stevens taken by Sylvia Salmi. The image is from Bettmann/CORBIS.
William Carlos Williams was a doctor who typed out his poems between seeing patients. His work showed readers the extraordinary in the commonplace. The Williams stamp features a photograph taken in the 1940s. The photograph is from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
The stamps on the Twentieth-Century Poets pane are being issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

More to be read HERE.

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