John Greenleaf Whittier's Bicentennial Recording Project: Poetry Brought to Life for a New Audience

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In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of master poet John Greenleaf Whittier, 217 Records has released two new CD recordings of Whittier's poetry read by Michael Maglaras. In the mid to late 19th century, Haverhill, Massachusetts-born Whittier was one of the most famous men in America; schools closed to honor his birthday. Statesman, ardent abolitionist, poet of the first rank, and one of the founders of the Republican party, his poems were read and memorized throughout America and much of the English-speaking world. These new recordings promote the rediscovery of his work.

In the mid to late 19th century, Haverhill, Massachusetts-born Whittier was one of the most famous men in America; schools closed to honor his birthday. Statesman, ardent abolitionist, poet of the first rank, and one of the founders of the Republican party, his poems were read and memorized throughout America and much of the English-speaking world

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of master poet John Greenleaf Whittier, 217 Records announces the release of two new CD recordings of Whittier's poetry.

The "Whittier Bicentennial Recording Project" is a labor of love for 217 Records founder Michael Maglaras. He has devoted the last two years of his life to the study and recording of the works of this New England master with one goal in mind: to reintroduce Whittier to a new, wider audience and promote the rediscovery of his work.

"In the mid to late 19th century, Haverhill, Massachusetts-born Whittier was one of the most famous men in America; schools closed to honor his birthday. Statesman, ardent abolitionist, poet of the first rank, and one of the founders of the Republican party, his poems were read and memorized throughout America and much of the English-speaking world," said Maglaras. "Whittier lived to be 85. In his early years, he lived an eventful life; in middle age he established his reputation by selling 20,000 copies of the poem 'Snow-Bound' within the first few months. In his old age, he was revered as America's 'fireside poet,' while continuing to produce work of incomparable quality that speaks to our age as distinctly as it spoke to his own."

Volume 1 of the Whittier Bicentennial Recording Project, "Snow-Bound," (released in 2006) is dedicated entirely to Whittier's lyric masterpiece of the same title. This CD is the first contemporary recording of this epic poem. Listen to an excerpt from "Snow-Bound": http://cdbaby.com/cd/maglaras

"Snow-Bound" was written in Amesbury, Massachusetts during the summer of 1865. The Civil War had just ended, and the nation was grieving the assassination of President Lincoln and the enormous loss of the soldiers who fought on both sides. Published in February of 1866, "Snow-Bound" was an immediate success. 141 years later, this poetic masterpiece still resonates with as much power as the day it was published. Download the complete text of "Snow-Bound": http://www.two17records.com/Snow-Bound.htm

Volume 2, "Barbara Frietchie & Other Poems," will be released this month and includes 12 of Whittier's most beloved poems, including "The Pressed Gentian," "Burning Driftwood," and "The Barefoot Boy." All poems are read by Maglaras. Listen to an excerpt from "Barbara Frietchie":

http://www.two17records.com

In commemoration of the Whittier Bicentennial, 217 Records is sponsoring a poetry recitation contest for Amesbury High School students to be held this May, and Maglaras will perform a live reading of "Snow-Bound" at the Amesbury Middle School Auditorium on Thursday, February 15 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. This reading is free and open to the public.

http://www.two17records.com

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TAMI KENNEDY
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