December 29, 2011 |
For years, people have called her the "unofficial poet laureate of Philadelphia. " Now it's official. Sonia Sanchez, 77, poet, teacher, mentor, activist, and revered Philadelphian, will be named the city's first poet laureate by Mayor Nutter in an 11 a.m. ceremony Thursday at City Hall. Sanchez is the author of at least 18 books of poetry, as well as plays and children's books. She has long been one of the city's most visible and active writers, readers, teachers, and activists for peace and social equality.
December 7, 2011 |
It's quite a bunch. And it tells us much about the United States of America - and its poets. In 2012, the U.S. Postal Service will bring out a series of "Forever" stamps dedicated to U.S. poets of the 20th century. Tentatively, they're to be dedicated March 3 at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago, says Roy Betts of the Postal Service. Poets have been on our stamps before, as standout Americans, among them Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Bryn Mawr grad Marianne Moore.
August 11, 2011 |
He's as American as poets get - a son of immigrant parents, the hardworking classes, a master of straightforward, uncompromising American-English poetry telling of life as flesh-and-blood people live and feel it. And Wednesday, Philip Levine, 83, was appointed by Congress as U.S. poet laureate, succeeding the eminent W.S. Merwin. It's amazing Levine hasn't been laureate yet. He has won almost every high-profile prize for poetry, including a Pulitzer, two Guggenheims, two National Book Awards, and a Ruth Lilly Prize.
May 14, 2011
ATLANTA - Vin Scully, baseball broadcasting's poet laureate, once talked about keeping the sport in perspective. It was important, he noted, to remember there's life beyond the outfield walls. He was right, of course. At the same time, those fences are imperfect barriers, at best. For most fans, baseball is a sanctuary from their workaday burdens. For those in the game, it's their vocation. For everyone, outside cares and concerns cross the boundary all the time. The Phillies and Braves faced off at Turner Field last night.
May 14, 2011
Major risks vs. minor ones Tuesday's article by Duke University professors Rob Jackson and Avner Vengosh ("Strong evidence that shale drilling is risky"), claiming that hydraulic fracturing is responsible for groundwater contamination, is both incorrect and misdirected. Not only is the methodology used in their research statistically unsound, but the authors also don't reveal their true agenda until the last paragraph, when they admit their fondness for renewables and their dislike of fossil fuels.
May 14, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - Bob Dylan has taken to his website to address a swirl of commentary and analysis stemming from his performance last month in Beijing, specifically responding to accusations that he sold out for adhering to what has been described as a set list vetted and approved by the Chinese government. Others criticized the singer and songwriter for not speaking out on behalf of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Dylan dismissed the notion that he was following anyone else's order in choosing songs for the show.
May 11, 2011 |
O Philadelphia! My Philadelphia! Rise up and hear the bells! We are getting a poet laureate! Camden, home of Walt Whitman, will shame us no more. Mayor Nutter recently announced that Philadelphia - city of clamorous larynx and dexterous middle digits! - will establish through its Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy an official Poet Laureate program. Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer, who will chair the planning committee, "hopes the poet laureate can be announced sometime this fall.
March 29, 2011 |
A few days ago, the Guardian in London boldly put out a list of the top 10 American poems. It was sobering reading, largely because only one of the poets is still alive. John Ashbery, a masterly wordsmith, is 83. He was born the same year as the present U.S. poet laureate, whom I am certain only a tiny percentage of us could name. Can you? Did you know we had one? It's William Stanley Merwin - a wonderful, if sometimes opaque, poet, who lived in Scranton from the age of 11, but moved to Hawaii in the 1970s.
May 31, 2009 |
Scandal ripped the poetry world last weekend, and it all blew up on Monday night. It's one of the worst moments in the history of verse. Scandal and poetry in the same sentence? Believe it. This was a sockdolager - sex, intrigue, poison e-mails, thwarted ambition, crashes, burnings, screams of pain. Poetry just may have joined politics, sport, and entertainment in finding itself prey to multimedia manipulation, assault, and abuse. Does nothing, no one, stand apart, not even the most rarefied of versifiers?