Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Director

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For the past two years, Carolyn Hill, a partner in Manhattan-based repping firm New York Office, had been quietly living a double life as a directors' rep and a grad student, studying poetry at Columbia University. But after graduating with her MFA in May - as valedictorian, to boot - she's now fully out about her wordsmithing, eagerly bringing it to the corporate corridors with the intention of using poetry studies as a salve for creative constipation. Her first stop? Why, agencies, of course. "I passed a proposal to a number of people and it landed in the hands of Nancee Martin, creative manager at FCB," she says. "We had a meeting for two hours about, How are creatives supposed to sit in cubes and create? It's impossible." The discussion led to a workshop at the agency, attended by eight creatives, who dissected modern American poems and took a crack at penning their own verse. "I tried to show them that poetry isn't just all about end-rhyming and sonnets, it's just about overall creative expression," she notes. She's currently in talks to start similar programs at other shops and she's amazed at how warm the reception has been so far. She recalls an encounter with one FCB student, who asked her how a real-life poet made her way into the agency. "I was cracking up, because she didn't know I also represent directors. Even at the end of my two-hour meeting with Nancee, she said, 'I'm sorry I took up so much of your time,' and I was like, What! Nobody ever says anything like that to a rep!"
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