Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of the most challenged books in the country to keep the public informed of encroaching censorship. The ALA defines a challenge as “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. The group estimates that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. This year’s list is topped by the The Adventures of Captain Underpants series, which also held that slot in 2012. The humorous and cartoony book about two 4th grade boys and their imaginary-turned-real superhero Captain Underpants was cited for: offensive language, unsuited for age group, and violence. Fifty Shades of Grey also made the list, as did The Hunger Games. Check out the complete list. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Poetry (11-20 of 42)
Walt Whitman’s poetry flares up a lot in Americana. Breaking Bad‘s meth kingpin Walter White had an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass (which sold at an auction for $65,500). In the show, the book was the catalyst for his undoing. Bill Clinton infamously presented Monica Lewinsky with a copy of Leaves of Grass. (Lesson: never gift Leaves of Grass. It’s the Hades pomegranate of modern times.) Apple’s recent iPad commercial makes striking (and shameless) use of Robin Williams’ speech from Dead Poets Society in which he quotes Whitman’s “Oh Me! Oh Life!” Today Open Culture featured an interesting article about this phenomenon, but the real treat is the download of Orson Welles’ BBC recording of “Song of Myself.” Welles’ resonant voice and expressive reading is absolutely riveting. He gives the poem the gravity that Whitman intended. It makes you miss old time radio readings. [Open Culture]
If you feel like gobbling up more radio after Orson Welles, head over to N+1. The associate editor Richard Beck and author Sheila Heti discuss political and literary topics like friendship, feminism and the child-care sex-abuse hysteria of the 1980s. You know, casual Thursday thoughts. [N+1]
Lotte Fields was a regular visitor to the New York Public Library until the day she died at 89-years-old. She loved to read and she donated the occasional small sum to the institution. So imagine the everyone’s surprise when it was discovered on Wednesday that she bequeathed the 119-year-old library $6 million in her will. That sounds like something written by E.L. Konigsburg. [New York Times]
The Hugo Awards periodically recognize books that were written 50-75 years prior to the current award ceremony. This year the Hugo committee asked members to pick a science fiction book written in 1938 for an honorary Retro-Hugo award. Notables include: Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis; the Doc Savage novels; and The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White. [Guardian]
Another sweet poetry story, Afaa Michael Weaver just won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his poetry collection The Government of Nature. Chief Judge Chase Twichell said of Weaver, “His father was a sharecropper. After serving for two years in the Army, he toiled for 15 years in factories, writing poems all the while. When he learned that he’d won a National Endowment Fellowship, he quit his job and attended Brown University on a full scholarship. He essentially invented himself from whole cloth as a poet. It’s truly remarkable.” So second lesson today: it’s never too late to seize your dream job. [NPR]
An original manuscript of a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe has sold for $300,000 at an auction in Massachusetts.
The Standard Times of New Bedford, Mass., reports that the handwritten poem with Poe’s signature was purchased Saturday in Marion, about 50 miles south of Boston, by a collector who was given 10 days to verify its authenticity.
The item had been owned by a Rhode Island family since the 1920s.
The poem, The Conqueror Worm, is believed to have been written in the 1830s and is among more than 100 published by the author.
Chris Semtner, curator at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., says the original manuscript was thought to have been lost.
Auctioneers had expected the item to fetch no more than $20,000.
Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey talks about her first year, her reappointment, and her new partnership with 'NewsHour'
Earlier this week, the Library of Congress announced it was reappointing Natasha Trethewey as the nation’s poet laureate. That mostly means one thing: more work.
But that work — discussing poetry and, soon, traveling around the country with PBS Newshour — is the whole point. We spoke with Trethewey about her recent reappointment, her upcoming national project with PBS (expect more details by the end of the summer), and more.
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The nation’s top poet is staying put. According to the AP, Natasha Trethewey has been reappointed poet laureate, entering her second year, the Library of Congress will announce Monday.
Trethewey is coming off a busy year as the first Southern laureate since Robert Penn Warren. She released a new collection, Thrall, last August, while continuing as a professor at Emory University. (That’s on top of her 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Native Guard.) In her second term, which officially begins in September, Trethewey will reportedly collaborate with PBS on reports “about poetry and society.”
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The recipients of the 2013 Pulitzer Prizes, the highly prestigious awards administered by Columbia University each year, were announced on Monday. Honorees for the book awards include stories that range from topical tales of North Korea-U.S. relations to the timeless subject of failed marriages.
The prize for fiction went to The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, which EW gave an “A” upon its release in early 2012 and later listed among the year’s best fiction. The novel takes place in North Korea, chronicling the life of a man named Pak Jun Do, from his childhood in a state orphanage through a series of adventures and struggles amid rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S. READ FULL STORY
The 2012 National Book Award winners were announced tonight during a blacktie gala at Cipriani’s in Lower Manhattan. Winning the big fiction prize was Louise Erdrich for her gut-wrenching novel The Round House, which centers on a grave injustice that rocks a Native American community. In a turn that didn’t surprise us whatsoever, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo won for her stunning work of nonfiction, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. David Ferry and William Alexander also won big in Poetry and Young People’s Literature, respectively. See below for a full list of finalists with winners in bold, and click on links for the EW reviews. READ FULL STORY
Amanda Nadelberg’s poems in her new collection Bright Brave Phenomena (Coffee House Press) are jumping, funny, romantic, and frequently lyrical. She repeats words within a stanza, looping back to what you can later recognize as a theme, but which in the immediate reading is almost pure music:
will always look
like this. We had
a lovely time and
a deep chair. Ugly
speaks to Lovely
else people make
Intolerable love. READ FULL STORY
Joe Brainard (1941-1994) was a marvelous artist – a painter whose work, including his collages and drawings, revealed a shrewdly intelligent man who was able to tap into a naif’s youthful innocence, a sharpie’s wit, and a commercial creator’s uniquely sophisticated sense of design. Brainard was also a sometime-writer whose words (and some art) have been collected in a “special publication” from The Library of America as The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard. READ FULL STORY
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