April was declared National Poetry Month in 1996, perhaps to spite T.S. Eliot. The American Academy of Poets claimed it first, and the League of Canadian Poets followed suit a polite few years later, in 1999. Frankly, spring has never been the same, at least for poetry lovers. Publishers target many of their releases to this month, a time when the pale spotlight shone on this corner of the literary world seems slightly brighter. Awards have followed suit, too – it is no coincidence that the Griffin Poetry Prize, one of the world’s most generous and prestigious, announced its short lists a few weeks ago. (Do not miss international finalist Brenda Shaughnessy’s Our Andromeda, one of the best books of last year.) Across the country, panels are convened, readings are held, books are launched and countless tiny plastic cups of tepid, sour white wine are consumed.
Monthly Archives: April 2013
The Lunch Poems display highlights publications by poets who have participated in the monthly Lunch Poems at SFU readings as well as the library’s general poetry collection. Belzberg Library has recently acquired works by Lunch Poems poets to highlight SFU’s community engagement initiatives.
Students, faculty and members of the public are invited to come to the next Lunch Poems reading on Wednesday May 15 featuring Calvin Wharton and Wanda John-Kehewin or drop by the library to browse our collections.
Poetry in Transit showcases 8 poems by BC poets published in Canada. Displayed on the glass walls of the new Wosk Student Learning Commons, the works by:
- Kate Braid,
- Tom Wayman,
- Samantha Reynolds,
- E.D. Blodgett, Patrick Lane,
- Billeh Nickerson,
- Rodney DeCroo, and
- Janet Marie Rogers
illustrate the variety and power of poetry.
This exhibit is part of a project by the Association of Book Publishers of BC in partnership with Vancouver’s current Poet Laureate, Evelyn Lau, TransLink, BC Transit and the City of Vancouver to celebrate our province’s poetry.
Catherine Owen is presenting The Living & The Dead poetry series, that pairs living poets with dead contemporaries, at the Heritage Grill in New Westminster, beginning April 20. The first pairing was George Bowering and his old friend and mentor, the late Al Purdy.
For more information go to: http://www.newwestnewsleader.com/entertainment/202538941.html
Kudos and thanks to Nora Grove and Elizabeth Godley for a superb presentation on Margaret Atwood on Thursday, April 25.
Here is Margaret Atwood’s own official version of her life as a poet as quoted in Canadian Poetry Online: “I was once a snub-nosed blonde. My name was Betty. I had a perky personality and was a cheerleader for the college football team. My favourite colour was pink. Then I became a poet. My hair darkened overnight, my nose lengthened, I gave up football for the cello, my real name disappeared and was replaced by one that had a chance of being taken seriously by the literati, and my clothes changed colour in the closet, all by themselves, from pink to black. I stopped humming the songs from Oklahoma and began quoting Kirkegaard. And not only that — all of my high heeled shoes lost their heels, and were magically transformed into sandals. Needless to say, my many boyfriends took one look at this and ran screaming from the scene as if their toenails were on fire. New ones replaced them; they all had beards.”
Margaret Atwood is not only an internationally acclaimed poet and novelist, but a brilliant, fascinating woman. On Thursday, April 25, Nora Grove and Elizabeth Godley will delight us with insights into this Canadian literary icon. For details, please revisit the April 8th blog.
The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre requires all participants to register quarterly for our sessions. This way they can determine attendance and level of participation in our Poetry Circle. If you haven’t already done so, please register in person or online (free if you’re already a member) for the upcoming sessions. For online registration go to: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/roundhouse-recreation-programs.aspx?g=1&op=0&x=C&t=-1&d=-1&a=-1&l=122&ft=-1&c=42&pp=-1&s=poetry.
See you all on April 25!
Thomas Edison was once called “addled” by his teachers and dropped out of school after only three months of formal education, then forever changed the course of technology and earned himself a Congressional Gold Medal. Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at the age of ten after two years of study, then went on to become a polymath and a Founding Father. Albert Einstein flunked out of high school at the age of fifteen, then proceeded to build the foundation of quantum theory and win the Nobel Prize in physics. The list goes on, but hardly does the evidence for the disconnect between academic performance and genius get more delightfully visceral than in Anne Sexton’s report card, found in: Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters.
We were saddened to learn that former Academy of American Poets Chancellor Daniel Hoffman passed away on March 30, 2013, a few days shy of his 90th birthday. Hoffman wrote numerous books of poetry and served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (now called U.S. Poet Laureate) from 1973 to 1974.
This April, during National Poetry Month, 2013, the Academy of American Poets is celebrating the role that correspondence has played in poets’ lives, as well as in their poems:
My Grandma’s Love Letters by Hart Crane
Consider the Hands that Write This Letter by Aracelis Girmay
On the Persistence of the Letter as a Form by Paul Guest
My Father’s Love Letters by Yusef Komunyakaa
Letter from Town: The Almond Tree by D.H. Lawrence
Self-Portrait as Letter Addressed to Self by J. Michael Martinez
The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter by Ezra Pound
The Letter by Mary Ruefle
Letter Home by Natasha Trethewey
Letter Already Broadcast into Space by Jake Adam York
In recognition of the “the cruelest month,” here are a few excerpts from English poet Wendy Cope‘s hilarious book, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, in which she lampoons literary pretensions, including some very funny limerick parodies of T.S. Eliot‘s The Wasteland:
In April one seldom feels cheerful; Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful; Clairvoyantes distress me, Commuters depress me-- Met Stetson and gave him an earful. She sat on a mighty fine chair, Sparks flew as she tidied her hair; She asks many questions, I make few suggestions-- Bad as Albert and Lil--what a pair! The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep; Tiresias fancies a peep-- A typist is laid, A record is played-- Wei la la. After this it gets deep. A Phoenician named Phlebas forgot About birds and his business--the lot, Which is no surprise, Since he'd met his demise And been left in the ocean to rot. No water. Dry rocks and dry throats, Then thunder, a shower of quotes From the Sanskrit and Dante. Da. Damyata. Shantih. I hope you'll make sense of the notes.