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Poetry from M.I.T.; John Ciardi

Part of From the Vault. Part of Nine Poets Walk Into An Institute of Technology.


In this recording, one of several poetry readings and talks from M.I.T. that aired on WGBH in 1963, John Ciardi offers a number of extemporaneous reflections on the art of children's poetry, reading a handful of original poems geared to children from his recently published collections I Met a Man (1961) and You Read to Me, I'll Read to You (1962) before proceeding to further reflections and selections from his more general work as a poet. Describing the composition of poetry as a form of "intelligence by indirection,” Ciardi offers a critique of the educational system, discusses the revision and publication processes, and offers observations on the four major preoccupations of the poet: diction, form, metaphor, and rhythm. In the course of his remarks, Ciardi reads his children's poems “I Met a Man Who Was Trying to Whittle,” “When I Went to Get a Drink,” “About the Teeth of Sharks,” and “The Cat Heard The Cat Bird,” before turning to three original poems geared to a larger readership: "The Dolls," "An Island Galaxy," and "Goodnight." Summary and select metadata for this record was submitted by Jim Cocola.

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Poetry from M.I.T.
John Ciardi
Series Description

Radio series. Series release date: 1963

Program Description




Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ciardi, John, 1916-1986
Artistic Influences
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Poetry readings (Sound recordings)
Art and Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Event Coverage
Performance for a Live Audience
Ciardi, John, 1916-1986 (Speaker)
Publication Information
Posted with permission provided by the Ciardi Publishing Trust
Chicago: “Poetry from M.I.T.; John Ciardi,” 10/03/1963, GBH Archives, accessed December 7, 2021,
MLA: “Poetry from M.I.T.; John Ciardi.” 10/03/1963. GBH Archives. Web. December 7, 2021. <>.
APA: Poetry from M.I.T.; John Ciardi. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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