e-poets and educators: a longstanding team
Videoconferencing has only lately come to the fore of educators under the title of "distance learning." But as long ago as 1995, e-poets.net founder Kurt Heintz was volunteering with Young Chicago Authors, to bring videoconferencing to YCA's workshops, and so join the young writers with their peers in Los Angeles and Vancouver. The YCA series ran annually through 2001. Also in 2001, e-poets provided a 2-way video link with Seattle's Northwest Spokenword Lab for Chicago's Free Street Theater. Students in the Free Street workshop ran cameras, video mixers, and the videophone for themselves.
In 2002, e-poets.net continues to support education through the Voces y Lugares (voices & places) Project. As part of a team with Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, e-poets.net is providing the cultural and technological connections to help public schools enhance their language arts and humanities programs.
a commitment to quality
Featured artists on e-poets.net don't get into our libraries for the mere price of an e-mail. They are carefully considered for artistic originality and excellence. Videoconferencing begets a heightened consciousness of representation beyond one's own city limits. Our audio and online text support of our educational projects mirrors the concerns we have for accurate representation of culture. We feature artists of genuine merit in the Book of Voices, because we know that the public and students deserve the best.
a commitment to conscience
The world is not an easy place to live. It needs -- we need -- understanding to solve the problems our society faces. We have long recognized that the study of poetry, and the language that makes it possible, is a direct path toward understanding culture. People have come to our videoconferences in the past to hear poems, but have often left with a surprise reward: a good taste of another society. Videoconferences and the web can encourage free inquiry and the sharing of wisdom.
We have the faith that young people will use the new media wisely for such purposes because we've seen it happen time and again. Students have spoken through our conferences across national frontiers, on such topics as gangs, drugs, violence in schools, rape, and family issues. With few exceptions, the adults "moderating" the dialogue were as educated by this process as the young people were. We strive to keep a positive critical ecology in all our dialogues, whether they're strictly about poetry or about the many subjects that poetry encourages us to consider.