Leigh Harrison's work with
Poet To Poet
Leigh worked for many years as part of the staff of "Poet To Poet (with Robert Dunn)," hosted by Robert Dunn, and directed by Thomas M. Catterson. It was one of the earliest poetry programs on television, As Assistant Video Technician, working alongside Chief Video Technician Anthony Scarpantonio, she helped with camera work, cables, and lighting. Leigh also pccasionally did make-up for various guests on the show.
Poet To Poet (P2P) was videotaped in numerous locations in and around NYC, as well as in New Jersey, in Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island, and in Connecticut. As the years went by, they videotaped poets along the East Coast, including shows taped in upstate NY, in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The program aired from 1993 to 2005, on MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network), which was P2P's flagship affiliate. In addition to Manhattan Cable, P2P aired in numerous small towns and cities around Hartford, CT, Ossining, NY, and Rockford, IL. By 2004, they were in negotiations to air around Sacramento, CA.
Unfortunately, the deaths of both the director’s mother, and Leigh’s mom, within a week of each other in 2001, led the staff to drastically cut back on videotaping new shows. And then,
the death of Tom Catterson (affectionately
known to all as “Pepper”) in 2005 spelled the end for Poet To Poet at that time, since the remaining staff members – Robert, Anthony, and Leigh – felt Poet To Poet owed so much to Tom’s vision that continuing would be futile.
In 2008, Robert Dunn passed away, and the remaining staff members, along with Bob Perfetto (whose original music can be heard on the opening and closing credits of most of the shows) decided to work together to prepare the original VHS masters for uploading to YouTube. In this, Bob’s work has been invaluable; his video expertise included digitizing, re-mastering, and editing the half-hour shows into two (approximately) 15 minute segments, each of which showcased one of the two featured poets or musicians. Additionally, Bob and Leigh decided to add a screen credit that honored Tom and Robert.
The work of transcribing the Poet To Poet shows began in 2010, and – at this point – over 100 episodes are available for viewing on YouTube. The shows are an important artifact regarding the state of poetry in the US in the late 20th and early 21st Century. Interestingly, years before Bill Moyers did his notable series on the state of poetry in America, Poet To Poet had been documenting weekly the dynamic, living state of poetry in America.
The history of the TV show, "POET TO POET (with Robert Dunn) "
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