September 22, 2011 |
'It's not the Da Vinci Code ," says Stephen Greenblatt, "but it tells the same story: the thrill and astonishment when something very old, something thought to be lost, forgotten, returns to the world with the potential to change it. " Greenblatt - who reads at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Central Library - is speaking of his new book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern . He's right: Swerve isn't much like Dan Brown's ...
September 9, 2011
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry (Viking, $24.95) The lyrical, award-winning novelist depicts Depression-era America through the eyes of Lilly Bere, a political refugee from Ireland. (Sept. 6) Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women by Melissa V. Harris-Perry (Yale, $28) The author, a professor of political science at Tulane University, explores how black women negotiate the many images society throws at them. The personal really is the political - and vice versa.
August 21, 2011
By Rachel Hadas Paul Dry Books. 204 pp. $16.95 Reviewed by Frank Wilson The average life expectancy for persons born in 1900 was 47 years. Today, in the United States, it is 77 years. Today also, more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia. They are not always elderly. In 2005, poet Rachel Hadas' husband, George Edwards, a composer and professor of music at Columbia University, was diagnosed with dementia. He was 61. Statistics, of course, are utterly impersonal, but it is people who fall victim to disease.
July 27, 2011 |
Kai Davis is standing on a stage in San Francisco. Three thousand strangers stare at her, waiting in silence. She breathes and visualizes LOVE Park. There, the 18-year-old has performed more times than she can count. Davis dives into her performance - a poem, but not just a poem. Through spoken word, Davis brings the whole city of Philadelphia onto the stage of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. With the points from her performance, Davis' team then wins Brave New Voices, the largest competitive spoken-word event in the world.
July 15, 2011 |
"Never satisfied, I will practice my practice forever. " These were the powerful words spoken by Sinnea Douglas, 18, as she performed for a City Hall audience yesterday her spoken-poetry piece about wanting to become a teacher. Douglas is one of the six members of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement team who will bring their rhymes, cadences and powerful messages to San Francisco for the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam team championships next Wednesday through Saturday.
June 12, 2011
By Garrison Keillor Viking. 512 pp. $20.95 Reviewed by John Timpane I read hundreds of poems like these when I was coming up. I'm grateful to them. They helped get me started loving poetry. The volume at hand joins Garrison Keillor's otheranthologies, Good Poems of 2003 and Good Poems for Hard Times of 2005. Here, Keillor fills his pages with poems in which people's lives take place against the landscapes of this country. Place, scene, where it happened , are as vibrant as any human presence.
June 9, 2011 |
It's the renewal of a great tradition - with something new added. One of the nation's most eminent poetry conferences began Wednesday. Since 1995, the West Chester University Poetry Conference has attracted poets from all over, concentrating on craft, music, storytelling, reviewing, readings, panels, and much else. This year, about 250 poets have registered. Between them and folks who walk in, director Kim Bridgford, who is helming her first West Chester conference, looks for about 300 poets to assemble.
June 6, 2011
I THINK OF our Legislature as a sort of light brigade - light in wisdom, ethics and leadership - charging annually into the valley of death that's the state budget. This year, it's battling over taxing/not taxing Marcellus Shale, over cuts so deep that Montco Rep. Larry Curry calls them "human sacrifice," over what some say is the outright slaughter of public schools. Democrats, without votes to stop this GOP plan, hope it's a suicide mission: a political mistake that could cause Republican losses next election.
May 31, 2011 |
NEW YORK - Musician Gil Scott-Heron, who helped lay the groundwork for rap by fusing minimalistic percussion, political expression and spoken-word poetry on songs such as "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," has died. He was 62. He referred to his signature mix of percussion, politics and performed poetry as bluesology or Third World music. But then he said it was simply "black music or black American music. " "Because Black Americans are now a tremendously diverse essence of all the places we've come from and the music and rhythms we brought with us," he wrote.