For this year's National Poetry Month, the Poetry Foundation has set up a SoundCloud group called "Record-a-Poem." They're inviting people to record themselves reading their favorite poems. (via) [more inside]
Gary Snyder, sublime and seminal poet of ecological awareness and activism [YouTube link], Zen appreciation of "ordinary mind" and American speech, shamanistic intimacy with the natural world, and surviving member of the Beat Generation (West Coast posse) at age 78, has won the $100,000 Ruth Lilly poetry prize. "Gary Snyder is in essence a contemporary devotional poet, though he is not devoted to any one god or way of being so much as to Being itself," said Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman. "His poetry is a testament to the sacredness of the natural world and our relation to it, and a prophecy of what we stand to lose if we forget that relation.” Previous recipients of the Lilly prize include Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and W.S. Merwin. [Previously mentioned here.]
Can Poetry Matter? Written 11 years ago but still relevant today. Will the spectacular $100 million gift to Poetry Magazine (see below) make a difference? Or will the spark be ignited as poetic forms muscle their way in and around other mediums, as with Def Jam Poetry which will now looks like will have another season on HBO, and has now opened on Broadway; “singing poets” such as Floetry (soon to play live at SOB in NYC), Abiyah , and revivals of classic masters The Last Poets. Purists may cringe.
An astonishing bequest of $100 million to Poetry Magazine instantly turns a 4-person literary journal into the wealthiest poetry organization on the planet. The benefactress, Ruth Lilly, has given millions to libraries and medical research labs in the midwest. But poetry has never been showered with such munificence until now. What will this donation achieve beyond ensuring the existence of the journal into perpetuity?