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The Week We Watched the News
Poetry may seem an anachronistic pursuit, but only to those out of the know. Even at age 100, we still keep our ear on the pulse and our finger to the tracks, and we find that goings-on in the poetry world often parallel those on the AP wire.
There are books available to buy, and people are buying them. Certain titles are selling at a quicker clip than others. Natasha Trethewey is still dominating without mercy.
The New York Public Library is paying attention to its critics. It no longer intends to ship a million-and-a-half books to Jersey.
Los Angeles wonders if it should invest in a poet laureate. The hardcore fiscal conservatives of Southern California talk radio think it’s a waste of cash. The LA Weekly’s Joseph Lapin disagrees.
Georges Perec’s dream journals are appearing in English translation. We’re only slightly less impressed with translator Daniel Levin Becker (a neo-Oulipian in his own right) than we are with the guy who translated Perec’s A Void into English without using a single “e.”
There’s an election going on. One of the two guys running for President said some remarkable things at an expensive fundraising dinner. Julian Gough attempts to present the candidate’s ideas with more elegance.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is not running for re-election. He’s taking an online poetry course. This can only make him more powerful.
There’s a fest going on in DC. Tired of seeing celebrities from government and public radio? This weekend, you might run into Nikky Finney or Philip Levine instead. Don’t live in DC? Want to book your own event? Our buddy Janaka from Black Ocean has some valuable advice.
Guantanamo Bay is still open for business. Poet Adnan Latif died there last weekend after ten years of being detained without charge. But he didn’t go without writing a final kiss-off.
The MFA wars continue to rage. In the wake of Lisa Jarnot’s defection, Juliana Spahr chimes in.
Performance matters. Ugly Duckling Presse is soliciting funds to document those experiences that cannot be replicated. Chip in if you’ve ever said, “Yeah, the chapbooks are so-so. But that poet just smokes live.”
R.I.P. Louis Simpson. Fare thee well, old friend.