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 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?
April 19, 2009 |
San Francisco is famous as a great poetry town. As it should be. But move over, San Fran: Philadelphia should be as famous for poetry as it is for cheesesteak and Rocky. Philly is a bursting cauldron, a dizzying maelstrom, a chorusing kennel, yea, a mad laser light show of verse. This area offers renowned journals such as the American Poetry Review and a whole raft of vibrant Web sites for poetry and literature, such as the Fox Chase Review and the Wild River Review. Besides its series of readings by the world-famous, the Free Library also offers Monday Poets, a reading series/open-mike (where all comers can read)
April 17, 2009 |
Kristin Chenoweth said she never set out to be a writer - performing has always been what she has been about. A Tony Award winner for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and the creator of Galinda, the Good Witch, in Wicked, Chenoweth figured singing and acting were her things, until an editor saw a piece she wrote for Glamour about her growing up. "I thought I would get my Kennedy Center honors and then write my memoirs eventually," said Chenoweth by...
December 22, 2008 |
"Elizabeth Alexander may turn out to be the perfect inaugural poet," says Al Young, California's poet laureate from 2005 to 2008. "To me, she arrives at the perfect hour," says Aaron Fagan, poet and editor at Scientific American. "Also a surprising choice, not at all polite or safe. " "Her selection really affirms our generation of American poets in ways that will resonate for a long time to come," says Herman Beavers, an associate professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, fellow poet, and longtime friend.
November 26, 2007
Former New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka was back in the news recently. He didn't get what he wanted, but his case is a reminder that the state remains without a poet-laureate post that can promote poetry and the arts. Time to fix that. Baraka's over-the-top poem after 9/11 - "Somebody Blew Up America" - got him booted from the job by then-Gov. James McGreevey in late 2002. His appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this month. But Jersey officials went over the top, too - abolishing the laureate position in 2003, along with its $10,000 stipend.
April 29, 2007 |
The night they named David Simpson poet laureate of Montgomery County, his mother showed up. So did his twin brother, Dan. When it was all over, Miriam Dell bought each a book from a vendor at Arcadia University, where Simpson was feted April 13. Then she turned to Joanne Leva, founder and director of the laureate program, and poet Carolyn Forche, celebrity judge for this year's competition. "I don't know why they want books," Dell said. "They both have so many of them, and they can't read them.