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Tara Betts
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Most major news media outlets were fixated on the New Jersey bridge traffic scandal and Governor Chris Christie’s claims to have no knowledge of an intentional traffic block. However, a more personal loss in the poetry world was also announced today. Early Beat, iconic Black Arts Movement poet, and playwright Amiri Baraka was confirmed dead at age 79 today. He was admitted to Beth Israel Medical Center in December 2013 for unknown reasons, and the cause of death is not clear at this point. Baraka hosted the Kimako’s Blues readings at his home in Newark and continued to publish work... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Gwendolyn Brooks was celebrated with her own stamp alongside Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams in 2012. One of the questions that I had in 2013 was answered recently. The papers of Gwendolyn Brooks have found an archival home at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana. According to The Chicago Tribune, the poet’s daughter Nora Brooks-Blakely had been searching for a home for her mother’s papers since 2002. I had hoped the papers would stay in her beloved Chicago, possibly... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Where are the black women on SNL and in poetry on Zora Neale Hurston's birthday? Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
How the biting cold reinforces the idea of warmth and finds its parallels in poetry. Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at The Best American Poetry