Category Archives: poetry news

New Youth Poet Laureate Named in Philadelphia

jones  by ELIZABETH ROBERTSON Staff Photographer philly com

From the Mayors Office

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Helen Haynes, Chief Cultural Officer, and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, announced David Jones as the City’s third Youth Poet Laureate during a ceremony at City Hall. Mr. Jones’ term will begin immediately and run through May 2016.

“The City recognizes the impact that poetry can have on the positive development of young people. Poetry can foster a life-long love of reading, make our students better writers and improve their ability to find deeper meaning and think critically,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “It is important that we get our children interested in art and culture at an early age, and the youth poet laureate can play an important inspirational role in reaching that goal.”

The role of Youth Poet Laureate was established by Mayor Nutter in 2013 under the direction of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) to complement the City’s Poet Laureate program, and to give a young person an opportunity to develop and showcase his or her talents in poetry with the guidance of an experienced poet.

After a nomination process, the Poet Laureate Governing Committee selected three finalists: David Jones (West Philadelphia High School), Jada Elder-Wilkerson (Girls’ High School of Philadelphia) and Shirmina Smith (Academy at Palumbo). The members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock worked together to make the final selection.

The Youth Poet Laureate will be mentored by Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, as well as his successor, whose term will start in January 2016. In his newly appointed position, Mr. Jones said he hopes to receive guidance not just on the structure of his poetry, but how to further incorporate life experiences into his work. He will encourage his peers to react to the local, regional and national events that affect the city’s youth using poetry.

“We were pleased to see the caliber of talent displayed by the applicants for the position and look forward to helping David grow as a poet while inspiring his fellow youth,” stated Helen Haynes. “As the City’s first male Youth Poet Laureate, we are excited for the new perspective – and much needed voice – that he will bring to the position. We hope that Jada and Sabrina will continue to be part of the City’s efforts to increase the visibility of poetry in the city”

Myers and Vilayphonh @ Asian Arts Initiative – June 19

From The Asian Arts Initiative

arts inti

Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh of Yellow Rage

Please join us for a very special Family Style Performance Showcase & Open Mic to celebrate the end of our 5th Anniversary Season!

Family Style Performance Showcase & Open Mic

Friday, June 19

Doors open at 7pm

Show starts at 7:45pm

$5-$10 Sliding Scale Admission at the Door

Asian Arts Initiative – 1219 Vine Street – Philadelphia, PA 19107

On the web:

http://asianartsinitiative.org/

 

 

 

Reece and Heins @ Poets on the Porch 2015

This is the fifth in a series highlighting poets reading at Poets on the Porch 2015 to be held on July 11th @ 1 p.m. at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Ryerss sits atop the hill at Burholme Park.

russRussell Reece has had stories and essays published in Memoir (and), Crimespree Magazine, The Fox Chase Review and many other print and on-line journals. His work has appeared several anthologies most recently Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, released in 2012. All That Glitters, released in 2013 and Someone Wicked released in 2013. He has received two Best of the Net nominations and was a finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner/ William Wisdom Creative Writing Contest.  He placed first in the Delaware Press Association Annual Communications award in poetry and a 2015 fellowship from The Delaware Division of the Arts. Russ is a University of Delaware alumnus and a co-host of 2nd Saturday Poets in Wilmington, Delaware. He lives in Bethel, Delaware in rural Sussex County along the beautiful Broad Creek. You can read the poetry of Russell Reece in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14rreece.html

benBen Heins is the author of two chapbooks of poetry: Cut Me Free (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014) and Greatest Hits & B-Sides (Vagabondage Press, 2012). In addition to teaching first-year writing at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and Rowan University, he is an active member of the South Jersey Poets Collective. You can read the poetry of Ben Heins in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/a14bheins.html

Sum and Substance by K Pankajam

sumAuthorspress, New Delhi, 2014

ISBN 978-81-7273-962-1

Review by Shernaz Wadia 

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This is a collection of poems written in forthright, simple language. The poems have an undercurrent of morality but Pankajam does not write like a preacher or someone who believes her destiny is to change the world. It remains for the reader to glean the pearls from between her words and lines. She writes quietly, reflectively, spraying quotidian subjects – Bus Journey, A Surprise Visit, Signboards, My City Seldom Sleeps, Rain Skills, Before The Ink Dries – with freshness and vibrancy.
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Resolutions will immediately resonate with the habitual resolution makers. Many will ‘rewind’ with the poet and ‘think of the debt I could not pay, the promises I could not fulfill’  She takes us relentlessly through each month of the year to finally wind up where we started, with “a fresh list for yet another year”.
She finds Faith everywhere from a plain sheet of paper to everything in nature. It is ‘in our expectation of a daybreak after pitch-dark nights, while our existence next moment/seems beyond prediction.’  
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She writes lucidly about the Indian customs, rituals and ethos she is a part of. (The Pipal Tree, Vishukkani, Hopefully…, Gruhapravesham) Nor does she shy away from what might be termed ‘superstition’. In Stains (Pg. 33) she visits childhood memories of her grandfather’s quirks.  Language of Childhood bemoans the loss of innocence and voices the universal desire for a return to it while Second Childhood compassionately revives the memory of an uncle who had slipped into dementia.
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 When the world is tooting gender equality and women of substance are feted, her women-centric poems stop us in our tracks and compel us to take a look at a different reality. ‘Morning Blues, Yielding… ‘You Are (Not) a Working Woman’, is the dismal tale of every homemaker, whose relentless toil is taken for granted even though she works herself to the bones. 
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Inching slowly, she saunters towards the bed
And slithers into the waiting arms. He murmurs:
“Thank God you are not a working woman!”
Her day continues…
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‘Solitude’s Whimper’ is one poem that shatters our complacency. It shames us out of our apathy as we stare with a dumb ache and with “the walls bleed silently”
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If a philosophical vein peeps through poems like The Journey, A Little Secret, The Ultimatum…, the poet’s humour drips from poems like ‘A Surprise Visit to a Bachelor’s House’.  I couldn’t help but smile at ‘A Momentary Impulse’ a poem most will be able to relate to
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No sindhoor on the parting line/a milky path to the kingdom of love/that kindles his passion to leap a bit.
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In ‘An Orchestra’ she becomes ‘a song in the concert’. In Muse-Inspired she says,
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Salty breeze from Bay of Bengal….give rebirth to my sunken moods/ raises my spirit to its meridian splendour/and soaks my soul in the pavilion of passions.
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Some subjects have been written about endlessly, but they don’t lose their poignancy. Life Is a Circle is a heart-wrenching letter from a parent in an old age home which concludes with the lines
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I taught you all about life
maybe not about relationships
and I write to say:
Don’t tell your son I am here.
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Another evergreen subject for poets is Mother. Pankajam’s ode to her’s is ‘You Visit Me in My Sleep’.
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In my sugared memories of the past,
your face blooms like a lotus that meditates
unfolds at sunrise, upright,
with flawless beauty and virgin purity.
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In Sum and Substance Pankajam serves us a varied fare which is appetising, appealing and satiating. There is a sprinkling of nature poems, love poems, poems that throw a search light not only on society but on her inner realm. We are carried along on her words as she questions, wonders, dreams, empathises, hopes and muses.

 

 

Shernaz-Wadia3– Shernaz Wadia, a retired teacher, lives in Pune, India. A free-lance writer, her articles, short stories and poems have been published in many online journals and literary magazines like Muse India, Boloji, Kritya and The Enchanting Verses etc. Her poems have been anthologised in Poets International, Roots and Wings and Caring Moments. Shernaz is in the process of publishing her poems in a book titled Whispers of the Soul.. She has also co-authored a book of poems titled “Tapestry”, with Israeli poetess Avril Meallem. It is an innovative form of collaborative poetry writing developed by the two of them.

Wootson and Milby @ Poets on the Porch 2015

This is the fourth in a series highlighting poets reading at Poets on the Porch 2015 to be held on July 11th @ 1 p.m. at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Ryerss sits atop the hill at Burholme Park.

alice 4Alice Greenhowe Wootson grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Cheyney University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, she married and remained in the Philadelphia area. She earned a Masters Degree in Education and Reading Specialist Certification and taught in the public schools. Alice is the award-winning author of ten romance novels and an award-winning poet; she has taught writing workshops for numerous groups. She is also a board member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference. Alice Wootson is an active member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church of Philadelphia. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Isaiah. You can read the poetry and fiction of Alice Wootson in the 2008 Winter, 2010 Summer and 2013 Winter Editions of The Fox Chase Review in our archives at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/archives.html

Robert Milby 7Robert Milby , of Florida, NY has been reading his poetry in public since March, 1995.   He is the author of 6 chapbooks, most recently: Dickens’ Pet Raven (Fierce Grace Press, Wilmington, DE, 2014).  His first book of poetry is Ophelia’s Offspring (Foothills Publishing, Kanona, NY, 2007).  Second book: Victorian House:  Ghosts and Gothic Poems will be published by Black Bed Sheet Books, Antelope, CA in 2014.   Robert hosts 3 Hudson Valley, NY poetry readings and has read his work in NY, NYC, NJ, PA and New England.  He is a listed poet with Poets & Writers, Inc. of NYC.  He writes for the arts magazine, Heyday Magazine and the arts newspaper, The Delaware and Hudson CANVAS. You can read the poetry of Robert Milby in The Fox Chase Review at this link:  http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/a14rmilby.html

Poets in the News

latest news

Poet and Journalist Maria Lisella Selected as New Laureate for Queens

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150609/kew-gardens/poet-journalist-maria-lisella-selected-as-new-laureate-for-queens

THE POET OF THE MISSION

http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2015/the-poet-of-the-mission/

Balakian Reads with Kurdish Poet in Diyarbakir

http://armenianweekly.com/2015/06/09/balakian-reads-in-diyarbakir/

Poet Richard Blanco Launches Writing Project To Lift Cuba’s ‘Emotional Embargo’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/09/richard-blanco-cuba-writing-project_n_7545270.html

Kannada poet Kayyara Kinhanna Rai turns 100 on June 8

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/Kannada-poet-Kayyara-Kinhanna-Rai-turns-100-on-June-8/articleshow/47573793.cms

Poet’s works ponder the link between man and machine

https://news.usc.edu/82194/poets-works-ponder-the-link-between-man-and-machine/

Love, poetry and war: the Afghan women risking all for verse

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/06/love-poetry-and-war-the-afghan-women-risking-all-for-verse

Three Irish poets shortlisted for £10,000 Forward Prize

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/three-irish-poets-shortlisted-for-10-000-forward-prize-1.2242755

 

 

Juan Felipe Herrera Named U.S. Poet Laureate

juan-felipe-herrera-named-u-s-poet-laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=juan+felipe+herrera

Announcement from The Library of Congress

 News from the Library of Congress

June 10, 2015

Librarian of Congress Appoints Juan Felipe Herrera Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the Library’s 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2015-2016. Herrera will take up his duties in the fall, participating in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 5 and opening the Library’s annual literary season with a reading of his work at the Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15.

“I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of “Leaves of Grass” and expands upon it,” Billington said. “His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image—that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Herrera, who succeeds Charles Wright as Poet Laureate, is the first Hispanic poet to serve in the position. He said, “This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910—the honor is bigger than me. I want to take everything I have in me, weave it, merge it with the beauty that is in the Library of Congress, all the resources, the guidance of the staff and departments, and launch it with the heart-shaped dreams of the people. It is a miracle of many of us coming together.”

Herrera joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.

The new Poet Laureate is the author of 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children, most recently “Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes” (2014), a picture book showcasing inspirational Hispanic and Latino Americans. His most recent book of poems is “Senegal Taxi” (2013).

Herrera was born in Fowler, California, in 1948. As the son of migrant farm workers, he moved around often, living in tents and trailers along the road in Southern California, and attended school in a variety of small towns from San Francisco to San Diego. In 1972 he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology. He then attended Stanford University, where he received a master’s degree in social anthropology, and in 1990 received a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Herrera has written over a dozen poetry collections, including “Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems” (2008), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award. He is also a celebrated young adult and children’s book author. His honors include the Américas Award for both “Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box” (2005) and “Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse” (1999), as well as the Independent Publisher Book Award for “Featherless / Desplumado” (2005), the Ezra Jack Keats Award for “Calling the Doves” (1995) and the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award for both “Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes” and “Laughing Out Loud, I Fly” (1998).

For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, the PEN Oakland / Josephine Miles Award, a PEN / Beyond Margins Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows.

Herrera has served as the chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at California State University, Fresno, and held the Tomas Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside, where he taught until retiring in 2015. He is currently a visiting professor in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Elected as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, he also served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015.

Background of the Laureateship

The Poet Laureate is selected for a one-year term by the Librarian of Congress. The choice is based on poetic merit alone and has included a wide variety of poetic styles.

The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties required of the Poet Laureate, who opens the literary season in the fall and closes it in May. Laureates, in recent years, have initiated poetry projects that broaden the audiences for poetry.

In 2013-2014 Natasha Trethewey launched “Where Poetry Lives,” a series of on-location reports as part of the PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series. These reports, in locations across the country, explored societal issues through poetry’s focused lens. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/where-poetry-lives/.

Earlier, Rita Dove brought a program of poetry and jazz to the Library’s literary series, along with a reading by young Crow Indian poets and a two-day conference titled “Oil on the Waters: The Black Diaspora,” featuring panel discussions, readings and music. Robert Hass sponsored a major conference on nature writing called “Watershed,” which continues today as a national poetry competition for elementary, middle and high-school students, titled “River of Words.” Robert Pinsky initiated his Favorite Poem Project, which energized a nation of poetry readers to share their favorite poems in readings across the country and in audio and video recordings. Billy Collins instituted the website Poetry180, www.loc.gov/poetry/180/, which brought a poem a day into high-school classrooms in all parts of the country via the central announcement system.

Ten years ago, Ted Kooser created a free weekly newspaper column, at www.americanlifeinpoetry.org, that features a brief poem by a contemporary American poet and an introduction to the poem by Kooser. Donald Hall participated in the first-ever joint poetry readings of the U.S. Poet Laureate and British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion in a program called “Poetry Across the Atlantic,” co-sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Kay Ryan launched “Poetry for the Mind’s Joy” in 2009-2010, a project that focused on the poetry being written by community-college students. The project included visits to various community colleges and a poetry contest on the campuses. For more information on Ryan’s project, visit www.loc.gov/poetry/mindsjoy/.

The Library of Congress’ Poetry and Literature Center is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936, when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. Since then, many of the nation’s most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 (Dec. 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The Poet Laureate suggests authors to read in the literary series and plans other special events during the literary season.

At NPR

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/10/412909814/juan-felipe-herrera-named-u-s-poet-laureate

At The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/10/juan-felipe-herrera-poet-laureate_n_7550910.html

At The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/books/juan-felipe-herrera-poet-laureate-with-a-working-class-voice-meant-to-be-spoken.html?_r=0