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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BLACK POETS REMEMBRANCE DAY

MARGARET WALKER - Poet         1915-1998
 In 1942 her poetry collection For My People won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition making her the first Black woman to receive a national writing prize.


LUCILLE CLIFTON - Poet                1936-2010
In 1988 she became the first poet to have two books of poetry named finalists for one year's Pulitzer Prize.


JUNE JORDAN - Poet                        1936-2002
While a Professor in the College of English at the University Of California Berkeley, she was known as the "Poet of the People"

POETRY CHALLENGE SEVENTEEN

USING THE FOLLOWING WORD GROUP: ECSTASY, GARMENTS, LINGER, DAWN, WRITE A PASSION POEM.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

30 ways to celebrate national poetry month

  1. Order a free National Poetry Month poster and display it at work or school.
  2. Sign up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.
  3. Deepen your daily experience by reading Edward Hirsch’s essay “How to Read a Poem.”
  4. Memorize a poem.
  5. Create an anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.
  6. Encourage a young person to participate in the Dear Poetproject.
  7. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.
  8. Review these concrete examples of how poetry matters in the United States today.
  9. Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
  10. Ask your governor or mayor for a proclamation in support of National Poetry Month.
  11. Attend a poetry reading at a local university, bookstore, cafe, or library.
  12. Read a poem at an open mic. It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local poetry writing community.
  13. Start a poetry reading group.
  14. Write an exquisite corpse poem with friends.
  15. Chalk a poem on the sidewalk.
  16. Write a letter to a poet thanking them for their work.
  17. Ask the United States Post Office to issue more stampscelebrating poets.
  18. Recreate a poet’s favorite food or drink by following his or her recipe.
  19. Read about different poetic forms.
  20. Read about poems titled “poem.”
  21. Read the first chapter of Muriel Rukeyer’s inspiring book,The Life of Poetry.
  22. Subscribe to American Poets magazine or a small press poetry journal.
  23. Watch Rachel Eliza Griffiths' latest Poets on Poetry video.
  24. Watch or read Carolyn Forche’s talk “Not Persuasion, But Transport: The Poetry of Witness.”
  25. Read or listen to Mark Doty’s talk “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now.”
  26. Read Allen Ginsberg’s classic essay about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
  27. Watch a poetry movie.
  28. Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.
  29. Get ready for Mother’s Day by making a card featuring aline of poetry.
  30. Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2015. The idea is simple: select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it with coworkers, family, and friends.

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

about the celebration

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives. 
While we celebrate poets and poetry year-round, the Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to:
  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution ofpoetry books, and 
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.
There are many ways to participate. Here are just a few:
  • Follow the thousands of National Poetry Month celebrations taking place using #npm15 and follow the Academy of American Poets on Twitter @POETSorg.
  • Use the new National Poetry Month logo to promote your events. It can be downloaded here.
  • Order a free National Poetry Month poster designed by Roz Chast and display it proudly.
  • Invite K-12 students to participate in our Dear Poetproject by writing letters in response to poems shared by award-winning poets serving on our Board of Chancellors.
  • Attend Poetry & the Creative Mind, a celebration of poetry from the reader’s perspective featuring leading and luminary actors, artists, and public figures, on April 15, 2015, in New York City.
  • Participate in National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2015.
  • Sign up for Poem-a-Day.
  • Join the Academy of American Poets and show your support year-round for poets and poetry.
  • Share your photos and feedback about your National Poetry Month celebrations with the Academy of American Poets by emailing npm@poets.org.

OUT TO POEM



FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, WHICH IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, THIS POETRY COMMUNITY WILL BE  POEMING (YES, I'M USING IT AS A VERB) WITH THE "APRIL PAD (POEM-A-DAY) CHALLENGE," AS HOSTED BY ROBERT L. BREWER, SENIOR EDITOR OF CONTENT, FOR WRITER'S DIGEST, AT THE FOLLOWING LINK writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides

PLEASE LOG ON THERE TODAY FOR TIPS, THE GUIDELINES FOR THE "CHALLENGE," AND EVERY DAY AFTER THAT FOR THE PROMPTS.

HAVE A GOOD MONTH OF POEMING!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

POETRY NEWS - KANSAS CITY

JAZZ POETRY JAMS
Raja Nelson performs in front of a packed house at the Jazz Poetry Jams. Photo by Eric Baker KCUR

ABOUT | HISTORY OF JAZZ POETRY JAMS

Held the third Tuesday every month in The Blue Room, Jazz Poetry Jams offer opportunities for aspiring artists to share their work and gain a better understanding of the relationship between jazz and the spoken word. Poetry workshops are also included as part of the program, guiding students and other artists on a path to finding their creative voices and developing as professional artists.
CREATIVE EXPRESSION, JAZZ AND SPOKEN WORD
Featuring special guest poets of local and national renown, an open mic competition and a live jazz group, Jazz Poetry Jams is a must-see event for lovers of creative expression, jazz and the spoken word. Each session begins with a 30-minute set performed by the house band, followed by a performance from the featured guest poet.The remainder of the session is dedicated to the open-mic competition, where three people are chosen from the audience to judge each poet in three different areas: stage presence, poetic content and delivery.
– – –

POETRY EVENT-KANSAS CITY

Poetry Festival

Louder Than a Bomb - KC

Semifinals - March 23 & 24, 6 pm, Atrium, Free

Finals - March 29, 7 pm, Gem Theater, $10

The American Jazz Museum's 2nd annual city-wide youth poetry festival began on March 2 in the Gem Theater. Over 600 Kansas City area high school students representing 17 high schools have already participated. We're back at the American Jazz Museum for Semifinals Bout I on March 23 with Lawrence Free State, KC Poet Tree, and Paseo and Semifinals Bout II on March 24 with Lincoln Prep, Raytown, Shawnee Mission South, and Shawnee Mission West! Join us in the Gem Theater for Finals on March 28 as the top two teams from each Semifinal compete for the title of LTAB-KC champion!

Friday, March 20, 2015

POETRY NEWS


Photo
Claudia Rankine CreditElizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times
A finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen: An American Lyric” is audacious in form. But what is perhaps especially striking about the book is that it has achieved something that eludes much modern poetry: urgency.
“Citizen” is both insistently topical, with references toTrayvon Martin and stop-and-frisk police tactics, and concerned with intimate moments when racial impasses spring up between friends and colleagues. Stylistically, it takes readers on a ride over varied terrain, going from verse to prose to visual images by artists likeCarrie Mae Weems and Glenn Ligon, whose work is often grounded in wordplay and social commentary. These deliberate collisions, Ms. Rankine said, help “to create openness and surprises, and to make the world more integrated.”
“Citizen,” whose cover shows a black hoodie against a white background, has attracted praise from publications like The Los Angeles Times and Slate since its release last month. In a review in The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson wrote, “It is an especially vital book for this moment in time.”
This moment is one of heated discourse about race and equality, but she is not writing as an activist, Ms. Rankine said. Her book, she said, is “about our lived lives.”
“A lot of people feel that the realm of poetry and the realm of the lyric is personal feeling and should rise above politics, which, in fact, good poetry has never done,” she said in a recent interview at a hotel in SoHo. “As African-Americans, that’s what’s being played fast and loose with, our citizenship. When you have the Trayvon Martins and the Michael Browns being shot and killed, it’s because, on a certain level, there is a kind of mutability in the understanding of citizenship around the black body.”
Still, she said, her primary subject is not even so much race, but the ways in which we encounter and fail one another.
Ms. Rankine, 51, who teaches poetry and creative writing at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., was in New York for the National Book Awards. At the ceremony on Nov. 19, the poetry prize ended up going to Louise Glück, her former professor at Williams College. Ms. Glück, who won for “Faithful and Virtuous Night,” has championed Ms. Rankine’s work and was an inspiration for her own path, Ms. Rankine said.
Ms. Glück, in a telephone interview from her home in Cambridge, Mass., a few days after the awards ceremony, recalled Ms. Rankine as “a phenomenal student.”
“She spoke always with such boldness and accuracy and intensity,” Ms. Glück said.
Ms. Rankine said that while she would have liked to have won the award, “I wasn’t waiting to be chosen — you don’t write with the freedom that I do if that’s what is on your mind.”
“Citizen” reflects issues and feelings that have long been on the mind of Ms. Rankine, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved with her family to New York when she was 7. Her father found work as a hospital orderly, and her mother as a nurse’s aide.
Bookish as a child, Ms. Rankine earned a literature degree at Williams and went on to get an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia. She wanted to write poetry, she said, though pursuing it was a leap of faith for someone who grew up with the notion of needing a steady job.
Poetry and teaching paid off, though, and Ms. Rankine said she began to find her voice in her second and third books, “The End of the Alphabet” (1998) and “Plot” (2001), which looked “at the dynamic of words within words, the multiplicity of meanings within words.”
Her experimental, hybrid style emerged with her fourth collection, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely,” in 2004, a book that also carries the subtitle “An American Lyric” and integrates visual elements.
“Citizen” begins quietly, with descriptions of how encounters between people of different races can turn hurtful or puzzling or disconcerting in the space of a few words. The stories come from her own life and from people in her personal and professional circles.
One cannot forget the times a friend called her by the name of a black housekeeper. Another suffers a lunch companion who complains that because of affirmative action, her son cannot attend the same school that she, her father, her grandfather “and you” all attended. Yet another shows up for her appointment at the house of a specialist in trauma therapy. The therapist opens the door and yells: “Get away from my house! What are you doing in my yard?”
Ms. Rankine said that “part of documenting the micro-aggressions is to understand where the bigger, scandalous aggressions come from.” So much racism is unconscious and springs from imagined fears, she said. “It has to do with who gets pulled over, who gets locked up. You have to look not directly, but indirectly.”
In an email message, the writer and poet Elizabeth Alexander said she appreciated the way Ms. Rankine “presents these quicksilver, corrosive moments in exquisite miniature.” The poems, Ms. Alexander said, “usually take turns at the end that move us closer to the damage that occurs when actual people are replaced by stereotypical racist images.”
The visual art in “Citizen” — by Ms. Weems, Mr. Ligon, Nick Cave,David Hammons and others — continues and extends the conversation. It includes a well-known photograph of a lynching, from which Ms. Rankine has removed the hanging black bodies, highlighting the excited faces of the white mob. “We need to redirect our gaze” to the white spectators, Ms. Rankine said, to ponder their fascination and their actions.
Some of the words in “Citizen” were written as scripts to accompany videos on topics ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the World Cup, created with her husband, John Lucas, a filmmaker and photographer. They live with their 11-year-old daughter, Ula Lucas, near the San Gabriel Mountains.
“Citizen” does not neglect more poetic expression. “The world is wrong,” Ms. Rankine writes. “You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard.”
Ms. Rankine said she was hearing from black readers who feel comforted that she understands their exhaustion of being rendered invisible or alien, even when they believe they have forged connections in spite of race. And she is hearing from white readers who say they are more conscious of how their race determines their behavior and controls their imagination.
“As Baldwin put it,” she said, “ ‘Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.’ ”

WORLD POETRY DAY 2015


MARCH 21ST HAS BEEN DESIGNATED  AS A DAY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF POETRY AROUND THE WORLD.

IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THIS EVENT, BLACK POETS CAFE IS PROUD TO HAVE SELECTED ;

                                                           POETRY AFRICA FESTIVAL

 http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/poetry-africa-home


For a sampling of other festivals throughout the world  CLICK ON writedatbook.blogspot.com  OR Google World Poetry Day for more info on the event itself.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

POETRY CHALLENGE SIXTEEN

WRITE A "BLUES" POEM USING THE FOLLOWING GROUP OF WORDS: HOUSE, EMPTY, BEGIN, DUSK.  

REMEMBER THAT THE BLUES FOLLOWS  A STRICT  3- LINE FORM. THE FIRST 2 LINES ARE IDENTICAL (ROUGHLY) AND THE THIRD LINE RHYMES WITH THE FIRST TWO.

e.g.  In the evening when the sun goes down
        In the evening when the sun goes down
        Don't you get lonesome when your baby not         around

FEEL FREE TO VARY THE BLUES FORM AS YOU SEE FIT BUT TRY TO RETAIN THE PATTERN.

Monday, March 16, 2015

POET PROFILE


JOSEPH SEAMON COTTER, SR, was a poet and writer who was one of the first Black playwrights to be published in this country.

Born in Bardstown, Kentucky, on February 2, 1861, at the start of the American civil war, Cotter Sr. was also an educator and community leader, who was a worker for racial progress.

Cotter Sr. began his teaching career in 1889, and went on to become a teacher and an administrator with the Louisville, Kentucky public school system for more than fifty years.

In 1891 Cotter married his fellow educator Maria F. Cox, with whom he had three children, including the important poet, and playwright in his own right, JOSEPH SEAMON COTTER,
JR, who was born on September 2, 1895 in Louisville. Cotter Jr. died of tuberculosis in 1919. Cotter Sr. went on  to promote Cotter Jr's writings many years after this untimely death.


Although Cotter Sr.  was a prominent educator and Black civic leader, he is remembered primarily for his poetry. Cotter  Sr. published his first volume of poetry in 1895 and went on to publish nine books of poetry, plays and fiction on wide-ranging historical, philosophical and social themes. 

During his lifetime Cotter Sr. became known as "Kentucky's first Black poet with real creative ability."


He died in 1949.

To read the bios and sample the poetry and other writings of this father-son duo Google-search their names.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

POETRY CHALLENGE FIFTEEN



WRITE THE POEM THAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU CONTEMPLATE THE ABOVE IMAGE. THINK "OUTSIDE THE BLOCK."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

POETRY NEWS - CONNECTICUT

Nathaniel Mackey wins Yale’s 2015 Bollingen Prize for Poetry


Nathaniel Mackey, photo by Gloria Graham, courtesy Wikimedia
Nathaniel Mackey has been named the winner of Yale’s 2015 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, joining a list of past winners that includes such luminaries as Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, E.E. Cummings, and Marianne Moore.
“I’m thrilled to learn that I've been awarded the Bollingen Prize,” Mackey says. “Joining so distinguished a group of recipients makes it especially moving. I’m deeply honored by the recognition and endorsement the award represents. 
Of Mackey’s work, the three-member judging committee said: “Nathaniel Mackey’s decades-long serial work — ‘Songs of the Andoumboulou’ and ‘Mu’ — constitutes one of the most important poetic achievements of our time. ‘Outer Pradesh’ — jazz-inflected, outward-riding, passionately smart, open, and wise — beautifully continues this ongoing project.”
Mackey has authored numerous books of poetry, including the National Book Award-winning “Splay Anthem” (2006), “Nod House” (2011), “Whatsaid Serif” (1998), and “Eroding Witness” (1985), which was chosen for the National Poetry Series. His most recent book, “Outer Pradesh,” was published in 2014. Additionally, Mackey has published four book-length volumes from his ongoing prose work, “From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate,” including “Bedouin Hornbook” and “Bass Cathedral.”
Among other honors, he has received the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Stephen Henderson Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society, and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. He served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007 and is the Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University.
Of “Outer Pradesh” the judges said: “The book’s epigraph is Jean Toomer’s assertion of modernist open-endedness and generic not-belonging: ‘There is no end to ‘out.’’ Mackey applies this endlessly outward-going passage to an ecstatic, exilic experience, as a group of travelers — a ‘philosophical posse’ — makes its way across an Indian province. What they and we encounter on this journey is a pre-history embodied by ‘old-time people’ whose songs must be heard. Together we find ourselves within an improvised social continuum that grows larger, stranger, more remote, and more consoling at every turn. Memory becomes a site of social commentary and collective vision. Mackey’s epic of fugitivity forms a stunning meditation on being.”
To read a selection from “Outer Pradesh,” visit the Beinecke Library’s website.
The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, established by Paul Mellon in 1948, is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. From its controversial beginnings in 1948, when the Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress awarded the prize to Ezra Pound for “The Pisan Cantos,” the Bollingen Prize has honored the literary accomplishments of poets whose work continues to define modern American literature. The prize, administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, includes a cash award of $150,000. 
Among the most prestigious prizes awarded to American writers, the Bollingen Prize has been a force in shaping contemporary American letters. Early Bollingen Prize winners — Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, E.E. Cummings — are today widely considered to be writers whose work defined a new American literature of the 20th century. More recent winners — Louise Glück, Gary Snyder, Jay Wright, Adrienne Rich, Susan Howe, and Charles Wright — represent stylistic diversity in American writing. Throughout its history, the Bollingen Prize has been dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the very best in American poetry.
This year’s judges were Al Filreis, the Kelly Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania; Tracy K. Smith, professor of creative writing at Princeton University; and poet and writer Elizabeth Willis.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

POETRY CHALLENGE FOURTEEN

MARCH IS WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH:

WRITE A POEM ABOUT A WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE, PAST OR PRESENT,
WHO COMPLETELY CHANGED YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND PERSPECTIVE ON HOW YOU PREVIOUSLY VIEWED WOMEN.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

POETRY NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2015

The Poetry Foundation Welcomes Submissions to the 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

Sumissions accepted March 1 – April 30
CHICAGO – Five Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $25,800 each will be awarded to young U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Submissions will be accepted from March 1 through April 30 of this year.
The original Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships were established in 1989 by Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. In 2013, the Poetry Foundation received a generous gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to create the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which increased the fellowship amount from $15,000 to $25,800.
The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships honor two extraordinary women and their commitment to poetry and give five young poets a more auspicious start to their careers. The awards are among the largest offered to young poets in the United States.
“From Harriet Monroe’s founding of Poetry in 1912 to our constant search for fresh new voices today, Poetry has always discovered work that enlivens our sense of what poetry is worth and what it can do,” says Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine. “The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships are especially inspiring because they identify emerging writers whose promising work shows how poetry helps compose our lives.”
For information on how to submit, visitpoetryfoundation.org/foundation/prizes_fellowship. The fellowship winners will be announced in September 2015 and featured in an upcoming issue of Poetry magazine.
The 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows are Wendy XuHannah GambleSolmaz Sharif,Danez Smith and Ocean Vuong. The Poetry Foundation’s annual awards to poets include the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition, and the new $7,500 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, first given in 2014, which honors the best book-length works of criticism published in the prior calendar year, including biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org.