Margaret Chew Barringer

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Margaret Chew Barringer
BornApril 16, 1946

Margaret Chew Barringer is the founder and chairman of American INSIGHT, a nonprofit online educational resource that broadens exposure to the history and future of Free Speech through emerging technologies.

American INSIGHT showcases scholars, authors, educators, artists and civic leaders in short and long form historical documentaries. The organization's most recent program is a global online Free Speech Film Festival that culminates in a Free Speech Awards Ceremony in Philadelphia each year. A published poet, producer, director and web designer, Barringer is the granddaughter of pioneering geologist Daniel Moreau Barringer, and a direct descendant of the first Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Chew.

In 1983, Barringer founded the American Poetry Center to bring Free Speech and the Spoken Word to a wide range of audiences across Pennsylvania, providing a statewide model for the creation of National Poetry Month, now managed by the Academy of American Poets.

The American Poetry Center sponsored readings, classes and symposia in Philadelphia, coordinated all literary events for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and was granted both its 501 c 3 status in Pennsylvania and its federal EIN in 1985. The organization legally changed its name to American INSIGHT in 2005, as it prepared to reach new audiences through the latest advances in all-digital historic archival research, video production techniques, and Internet-based delivery systems.

As founder of the American Poetry Center, Barringer initiated a series of fourteen cultural exchanges between Philadelphia and Moscow with the USSR Union of Writers featuring over 100 poets and writers. Under her management, the American Poetry Center also hosted a series of annual symposia that brought poets and writers from around the world to Philadelphia and attracted national and international media attention, including coverage by Radio Free Europe. Featured authors included E.L. Doctorow, Edward Albee, Joseph Brodsky, Susan Sontag, Galway Kinnell, Allen Ginsberg, Grace Paley, Etheridge Knight, Gerald Stern, Czeslaw Milosz, R.D. Laing, Amiri Baraka, Robert Bly, Dennis Brutus, John Ciardi, Marge Piercy, Amy Clampitt, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Hass, Stanley Kunitz, Cynthia Ozick, Donald Hall and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Barringer has served on the Board of Advisors to the American Poetry Review, the Pew Fellowships’ Regional Council, the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Committee for Philadelphia, and the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in eight journals and two anthologies in America, and in four journals and three anthologies in Russia, reaching over 25 million people.

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