Comfortable Poet’s Society: A Poetry News Roundup

There have been a lot of events and happenings in poetry this week. From the death of Egypt’s most famous satirist poet to the eternal struggle of serious poetry to engage the masses, here’s a rundown:

Egyptian political poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, 84, died this week and was memorialized in major news outlets, giving tribute to a man who challenged authorities and called youth to activism. The New York Times reports that his dedication to stirring up the masses through word earned him a total of 18 years in prison. In other words, the man was what’s known as a “firecracker.” Times Reporter Kareem Fahim writes, ‘He cursed and teased, extolled the virtues of hashish and boasted about his many marriages. On a wall of his home he painted a line of poetry: “Glory to the crazy people in this dull life.”’

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The National Poetry series is in danger of closing its doors, also according to NYT, and needs to close a $25,000 shortfall for staff salaries and rent in order to continue into 2014. The Times reports that the organization is “several months behind” in paying its bills.

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At the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues in Chicago’s Wicker park, artistic collaborators Liviu Pasare and Anthony Moseley kicked off their micropoetry/image installation this week. The effort features poems and images projected onto the sides of three buildings in the area. The installation runs until January 3, 2014.

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Copper Canyon Press publicist Kelly Forsythe has penned a blog entry at HuffPo on “Why You Should Buy Poetry This Holiday Season.” In the essay, Forsythe does the good work of promoting small presses and poets, noting that most of the poetry sold is by familiar poets that audiences are comfortable with, such as Billy Collins and Mary Oliver, or dead poets. Forsythe promotes works by Alex Dimitriov, Kiki Petrosino, David Trinidad and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs.

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Year-end best lists are making their way onto the scene — Slate, Michael Robbins at the Chicago Trib, Minnesota Review, and various bloggers have put their picks out there. Stay tuned for Coldfront’s list — the most definitive and diverse list — light on the comfort poets, heavy on twinkly love.

 

Crystal Curry

Photo courtesy of husandhem.