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Archive for the ‘Poets & Poetry’ Category

alhambra“One of Spain’s most enduring historical mysteries is close to being solved as experts decipher and translate more than 10,000 Arabic inscriptions adorning the walls of the Alhambra palace in Granada.

“The intricate Arabic inscriptions carved into the ceilings, columns and walls inside the imposing hill-top fortress have long fascinated visitors. They contain everything from snatches of poetry and verses from the Qur’an to clever aphorisms, pious wishes and boastful slogans.

“There are so many of them, however, that nobody has ever managed to study each and every one. Now a team of researchers armed with 3D laser scanners and digital imaging software is slowly working its way around the complex recording, transcribing and translating every inscription.

“‘There is probably no other place in the world where studying walls, columns and fountains is so similar to turning the pages of a book,’ said Juan Castilla, of Spain’s Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), who heads the team.” (cont’d @ Guardian UK)

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amherst250logoAs part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Amherst, Massachusetts, home to the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Masachusetts, a number of literary events are scheduled for the month of April. Events include a “Children’s Literary Scavenger Hunt,” an “Emerging Young Writers Event,” and “A Reading by Poet, Essayist, Editor and Translator: Martin Espada,” to name a few.

A complete schedule of events in the “Amherst Lit Series” can be found here.

Additional information “About Amherst 250” can be found here.

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bookfairArguably the most important annual book fair in the United States will be held this coming weekend, April 3-5, at the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, at 67th Street) in New York City. General information (hours, entrance fees, etc) about the 49th annual event, organized by Sanford L. Smith and Associates and sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America can be found here.

The list of international exhibitors can be found here.

The annual New York fair is well worth the admission price even for those uninterested in writing large checks – as an exhibition of incunabula, rare and unusual books, periodicals and literary ephemera, the New York event is unrivaled in the United States, and probably the rest of the world as well.

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“Short, lucid writing is needed in these uncertain times, according to the Booker prize-winning Nigerian author Ben Okri, who is releasing a new poem line by line on Twitter. . . .

“‘I sing a new freedom,’ Okri Twittered yesterday, following it up today with the second line of the poem, ‘Freedom with discipline’, today. The poem was written to mark the release of Okri’s new book, Tales of Freedom, in April. The book brings together short stories and poetry in what Okri’s publisher described as ‘a fascinating new form, using writing and image pared down to their essentials, where haiku and story meet’. The entire poem will be posted on Okri’s Facebook and MySpace pages once it is completed.” (more @ The Guardian)

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bolanoawardThe awards keep rolling in for the late Roberto Bolaño and 2666:

“On Thursday, March 12, 2009, at a crowded ceremony at the New School in New York, the National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its book awards, covering books published in 2008. . . .

“Roberto Bolaño’s monumental 2666 (Farrar, Straus), a tale of love and violence set within the framework of the fictional town of Santa Teresa, Mexico, that’s widely regarded as the late author’s masterpiece, won the fiction award. Fiction committee chair Marcela Valdes called the work ‘a virtuoso accomplishment that ranks with Moby-Dick and Blood Meridian as one of the trenchant and kaleidoscopic examinations of evil in fiction.'”

Other winners included:

  • Poetry (co-winners): August Kleinzahler, Sleeping It Off in Rapid CityJuan Felipe Herrera, Half the World in Light
  • CriticismSeth LererChildren’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter
  • BiographyPatrick French, The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul
  • AutobiographyAriel Sabar, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq
  • NonfictionDexter Filkins, The Forever War.

(more @ National Book Critics Circle)

RelatedMas Bolano: Part VI of “2666” Discovered in Author’s Papers

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howlquartet“Artists from different disciplines have long been inspired by one another’s works, often with remarkable results. But both words and music suffer in Lee Hyla’s ‘Howl,’ a string quartet written in 1993 to accompany Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem of that name.

“A performance on Friday at Zankel Hall by the stellar Brentano String Quartet made me want to scream. The ensemble — Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violinists; Misha Amory, violist; and Nina Lee, cellist — played Mr. Hyla’s work against a recording of Ginsberg reading his colorful rant at the status quo, a major work of the Beat Generation.

“A poem as long and as dense as ‘Howl’ — whose myriad vivid images are crammed into long run-on sentences — is ill suited for simultaneous musical accompaniment. Music and words seem engaged here in a cacophonous battle with no clear victor.” (more @ NY Times)

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DubaiPoetry“The words of the late Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish echoed in a packed hall yesterday at the launch of the first annual Dubai International Poetry Festival.

“The festival was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the presence of more than 100 regional and international poets and writers from 45 countries.

“Jamal Khalfan bin Huwaireb, head of the festival’s organising committee, said in his keynote address that the aim of the festival was to create an opportunity for poets from around the globe to meet. . . .

“‘Poetry is among the most evolved of the arts and the strongest bridge between cultures. We believe that poetry can correct what politics has damaged,’ said Mr bin Huwaireb.” (more @ The National)

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