MtvU, a subsidiary of MTV Networks that broadcasts to over seven hundred college campuses across the country, announced today that it has chosen John Ashbery as its first poet laureate. Excerpts from Ashbery's poems will appear in eighteen promotional spots on the mtvU channel and its Web site. The purpose of the music network's new poet laureate program is simply to "whet an appetite," wrote Melena Ryzik in an article published in the New York Times today. "It seemed like it would be a chance to broaden the audience of poetry," Ashbery was quoted as saying.
The MTV subsidiary also announced today that it will sponsor a poetry contest for college students. The judge will be Yusef Komunyakaa; the winning manuscript will be published next year by HarperCollins as part of the National Poetry Series.