Tag Archives: Academy of American Poets

Mid-May Memo – It’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

It’s weird for me to say I’m lucky when I can’t go into a bookstore and have more than five choices if I want to read something about Asian-American characters.    Jenny Zhang

Though this nation has commemorated Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month since 1992 we have much to learn to earn about the history, ethnicity and contributions of our neighbors.  Though we have reached half-way through the month we have been focused on Spring than on the reflecting on the heritage of Asian Pacific neighbors.

For starts, it is worthy of note that the month of May was chosen to this nation has proudly commemorated Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month because of two major anniversaries in this nation’s history – The first Japanese immigrants came to the US in May 183, and the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 7, 1869.

A good starting point for the “big picture” of This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The contents of this site highlight only a small portion of the physical and digital holdings of the participating partners. https://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/  The LC site includes great links to the National Archives, the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

One fun resource that will spark ideas for honor a broad range of immigrants to the state is this accessible guide created by the Minnesota Historical Society http://education.mnhs.org/immigration/

Another Minnesota-specific guide produced by the Department of Human Services provides a great deal of information about ongoing activities related to the heritage of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans : https://mn.gov/mdhr/news-community/events-calendar/may-asian-pacific.jsp

The wealth of accessible resources for celebrating APAHM is remarkable – Please take time to explore the elegant poetry written, read and recorded by Asian-Pacific American poets.  The site also includes prose, critiques, essays, a great bibliography  and more that has been written by and about Asian-Pacific word people. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/asianpacific-american-heritage-month  As always, the Academy of American Poets captures the spirit of the people and the occasion.

I bring quadruple diversity to the Senate:  I’m a woman; I’ll be the first Asian woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate; I am an immigrant; I am a Buddhist.  When I said this at one of my gatherings, they said, “Yes, but are you gay? and I said, ‘Nobody’s perfect.’   Senator Mazie Hirono


National Poetry Month — Poetic ways to spend the days!

Today’s weather notwithstanding, we are well into April – which means we are well into National Poetry Month.  Whether it’s politics or taxes or a brief spate of springlike weather, the fact is that this post is late to herald the month!   The good news is that there is much to come!

A veritable potpourri of possibilities –  this simply gives the flavor of the host of readings, celebrations, blog posts and creative ways in which we welcome spring with a collective celebration of well-chosen words that enrich our lives throughout the year

The best way to learn everything there is to know about National Poetry Month is to start by diving deep into the official website sponsored by the Academy of American Poets: https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home   There you’ll learn about the two decades of celebration of the world’s literary treasures we share;  you’ll also find  a delightful poster, listing of events, and some unique projects including Poem in Your Pocket Day, details of the Dear Poet Project”, a chance to sign up to read a Poem-a-Day and scores of other ideas.  It’s not too late to dip into this overflowing pool of celebratory options!!!

Don’t stop with the National Poetry Month section though – take time to explore more of the website.  This is a never-depleted, always refresh source of ideas, insights, videotaped interviews and readings, poems for every occasion and more!  A year-round treasure-trove!

Then move on to explore what’s happening closer to home.

  • April 20-21 Magers & Quinn Booksellers will sponsor back-to-back evenings of poetry readings. Milkweed Editions co-founder Emilie Buchwald will read from her latest collection of poems The Moment’s Only Moment and Margaret Hasse will read from her new poetry book Between Us. On April 21 the store will host poets Lyle Daggett, Wang Ping and Morgan Grayce Willow reading their contributions from Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance.  Magers & Quinn is at 3038 Hennepin Avenue.  Free and open. (Magersandquinn.com)
  • Schools, colleges, public libraries, book clubs, indie bookstores and poetry lovers everywhere will be celebrating National Poetry Month in diverse and wondrous ways.
  • The Wadena County Historical Society has invited local writers to submit an original poem; selected poems will be read at “Minnesota Voices,” April 20, at noon at the Wadena County Museum as part of April’s National Poetry Month.
  • In honor of National Poetry Month, MPR’s The Thread is celebrating Poetry Fridays. Each Friday in April, The Thread will publish a selection of poetry from local independent publishing houses Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions and Coffee House Press.
  • Be sure to explore My-Minnesota (My-minnesota/blogspot.com). This special blog describes a delightful range of poetic possibilities you will want to explore – and possibly emulate.
  • And this may be my favorite. Senator Franken is soliciting young people’s poetic thoughts on the theme “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life:  Students are invited to write about any veteran or active military member who has had a positive impact on their life.  Entries will be judged by a special panel; winners in each age group will receive a book autographed by Garrison Keillor.  They will also be invited to attend a reception at Senator Franken’s St Paul office.  Guests at the reception will include Senator Franken, Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota National Guard Major General Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard Brigadier General Sandra Best, and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.  Winning poems will be framed and displayed in Senator Franken’s Minnesota or Washington, DC office. The poetry contest is open until April 21.  Contact poetry@franken.senate.gov or mail to Office of Senator Al Franken, c/o Poetry Contest, 60 Plato Boulevard East, St Paul, MN 55107.  Questions: contact Marc Kimball (651 221 2649 or marckimball@franken.senate.gov.

There are countless celebrations –  ideas, activities, contests, visuals, projects and other ways to celebrate poetry!   Though this list is abbreviated, sponsors, poets, and readers are welcome to forward notices of National Poetry Month 2017 activities at this late date.  I will happily add notices to future events as soon as I learn the details.  Thank you!

p.s. Recognizing as I do that the suggestion will raise an eyebrow or two, you might want to check out the Wikipedia post about National Poetry Month.  Lots there about the genesis of the idea and the many ways poetry lovers have found to honor the poets and their work.

UPDATE FROM THE NATIONAL POETRY MONTH WEBSITE:  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b5dc2bb5124021

UPDATE FROM U OF M : PANKAKE POETRY READING – BAO PHI http://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/pankake-poetry-reading-featuring-bao-phi/utm_source=continuum++News+from+University+of+Minnesota+Libraries&utm_campaign=c7df777509News_from_RSSFEED_TITLE_for_RSSFEED_DATE_3_17_2015&utmmedium=email&utm_term=0_35496412ca-c7df777509-174925501


Weathering the winter of our discontent – with words

Now is the winter of our discontent – William Shakespeare

Click first, read later:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICF30dst4JY   The poet, Robert Bly, one-time Poet Laureate of Minnesota, offers a sense of winter’s meaning too often lost in grumping about the irritations of ice and isolation on a January day.

Listeners who find comfort, escape, unadulterated beauty in the words and images will want to explore more, hear and view more of these Poetry Breaks, a series of video readings that are being posted weekly by the Academy of American Poets website (https://www.poets.org)

The videos were filmed in the late 80’s and early 90’ by Leita Luchetti who coproduced the series with WGBH New Television Workshops. Each video features a well-known poet reading his or her own work and/or the work of other poets. The reading is followed by a discussion of poets and poetry.

Precious treasures often wait for just the right moment in time to disclose their richness. These frigid days and perilous times create conditions that cry out for the vision and solace expressed in the words, even the presence, of these brilliant poets. Captured by the video artist, now shared by the Academy, these recorded encounters with poets and their art give us comfort and hope; they also remind us of the potential of technology to share and shape a better, more peaceful, world.

Learn more about Poetry Breaks and the unique resources of the Academy of American Poets here (https://www.poets.org) Time spent exploring the Academy’s website will warm your heart and lift your spirits.


Hispanic Heritage Month – So much to learn – So many resources!

As many – one would hope most – Americans know by now, National Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing…. The nation’s recognition of the heritage, culture, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans actually began September 15 and continues through October 15.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Energizing our national diversity!” For other basics of National Hispanic Heritage Month, including the text (in English and Spanish) of the President’s Proclamation as well as brief background and graphics, click here: http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/History.html

The events and resources sponsored and produced by federal agencies is overwhelming — a brief listing may even inspire local plans. Note that some of these events and resources are accessible online:

There’s also an idea-provoking calendar, with annotations, describing events happening throughout the nation – clearly it’s not inclusive, but it’s fun to skim — http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/Events.html

University of Minnesota librarians have prepared for Hispanic Heritage Month by creating an excellent guide to the Library’s unique resources. “The Diverse Heritage of United States Hispanics: Afro-Hispanics” is an indispensable introduction to the University’s immense resources including the Chicano Database and Informe as well historical and literary works, analysis and academic journals. (http://www.continuum.umn.edu/2016/09/celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month/#.V-KGd1e8xHh)

Organizations with fiscal resources may be interested in shopping options: http://shop.hispanicheritagemonth.org/main.sc

One resource that will touch the heart of everyone is a digital treasure offered by the Academy of American Poets. It’s a selection of Hispanic heritage related poems, essays, videos and multi-media presentations. These are beautiful expressions of ideas, images, and reflections of Hispanic and Latino writers — a lovely way for each of us to listen, view, recognize and appreciate this nation’s Hispanic heritage. Click and share this link – it’s a long link with an overflowing pot of poetic treasures at the end of the search rainbow: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/hispanic-heritagemonth?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Academy%20of%20American%20Poets%20Newsletter%20September%2020&utm_content=Academy%20of%20American%20Poets%20Newsletter%20September%2020+CID_2f63936680eeed6ca25e62fac497d396&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Hispanic%20Heritage%20Month%20page


April’s Poetry Month – A Time to Rhyme?

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence.

When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

Given the times it is no wonder that this JFK quote comes to mind as we rev up – poetically speaking – for National Poetry Month 2016 (https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home). Our last best hope may be the cleansing properties of a well wrought poem….

Poets and poetry lovers are celebrating prematurely with news today that the 2016 Walt Whitman Award recipient has been named. She is Mai Der Vang who is being honored for her first book, Afterland, which is scheduled to be published in April 2017 by Graywolf Press (https://www.graywolfpress.org), one of Minnesota’s distinguished independent publishers.  More than this, the 2015 Walt Whitman Awaard-winning book, Rapture, by Sjohnna McCray, will be also published next month by Graywolf.

For the past twenty years the Academy of American Poets has sponsored National Poetry Month, a massive project that involves poets, educators, librarians, booksellers, publishers and readers in a concerted effort to share the love of poetry, particularly contemporary poetry. The celebration includes an attractive (free and online) poster, a Dear Poet project for young readers, the Poem in Your Pocket initiative, and a month-long calendar of fun activities designed to share the written and spoken words of poets.

Though the calendar of Poetry Month overflows with events, projects and good ideas, one entry caught my eye – Al Franken’s Poetry Contest. Seems our Senator is hosting his fifth annual poetry contest for Minnesota students grades K-12. The theme of this year’s contest is “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.” For all the details on Senator Franken’s contest, click here: http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PDFs/Advocacy/ChildrensMilitaryPoetryContest2014.pdf



National Poetry Month Celebrates Poetry of, by and for The People

Archibald MacLeish once said of poets that “there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style.”  At the risk of rendering poetry and poets stylish, the Academy of American Poets for the past twenty years has led the nation in the celebration of April as National Poetry Month.  (http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41)

T.S. Eliot’s line about the “cruelest month”  drones like a mantra as the winter of  ’14 creeps on to remind us Who real is The Boss.  Still, the wonder of poetry is that more than any art form it can enhance any mood – whether we’re grumping about the endless winter, pondering the human condition, or celebrating the almost imperceptible inklings of Spring, poetry has the power to share the spirit.

How to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Start with Poets.org (http://www.poets.org), the website of the Academy of American Poets, where you will unearth a treasure trove of delightful ideas ready to bloom in your head and hands – there’s Poetry in Your Pocket Day (April 24), find a poem a day in your email, or submit your own thoughts about poems that have had meaning in your life.

If you would like the share the joy of poetry of young people, you will find a rich resource center for teachers and parents.  For example, aspiring bards can watch videos of contemporary poets reading and talking about their work, then write and submit their own poems, describing how and by whom they were inspired.

Check the poetry map for an incredible collection of each state’s poetry organizations, journals, well-known poets past and present, and much more.

And there’s a calendar of Poetry Month activities that can keep you busy 24/7.

Of course there’s an app that will deliver daily poetry readings to your desktop or earpiece of choice.

David R. Godine, Publisher, is celebrating with a daily giveaway of Godine and Black Sparrow titles.  Catch Godine’s daily Twitter (@GodinePub) for the publisher’s daily contest, Q&A about general poetry and publishing, especially histories of the publishers.  Daily winners can select their favorite library which will be entered into a drawing for a curated collection Black Sparrow poetry titles.

The venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf sponsors the “Portray Your Love of Poetry” contest.  Submit a photo, drawing or other visual representation of poems that inspire you.  Find Knopf on Facebook, upload your image, fill out the entry form which will pop up in the voting gallery.  Winners receive a packet of new poetry books from Knopf.

Ever a rich resource of all things poetic, the Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org) continues to expand their audio and video holdings including numerous online podcast discussions of poets and poetry.  Naturally, there is an app for that, too….During National Poetry Month the Foundation is featuring an audio series of poets discussing their art.

The list goes – and any one of these starting points will lead you into a world of literary wonders beyond belief.

When you do extricate yourself from the websites, consider turning your own hand at  ars poetica – doggerel counts.   Or possibly indulge yourself by taking time to re-read or listen to a well-wrought rendition of The Wasteland.