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Turns Out, Emily Dickinson Was a Blast

History has painted the renowned poet as a recluse. Her correspondence shows the opposite

(Newser) - Emily Dickinson's reputation as a reclusive genius squirreling away poems in her Amherst, Massachusetts, home until her work was posthumously discovered and published by her sister has long been the crux of her story in popular culture. But an updated volume of her letters upends this narrative, showing instead...

Taylor Swift Is Related to an Actual Tortured Poet

Guess who's related to Emily Dickinson?

(Newser) - Taylor Swift has a rather interesting sixth cousin, three times removed. Ancestry.com gives Today the scoop that dangling out on the songstress's family tree is another bit of American royalty: Emily Dickinson. "Swift and Dickinson both descend from a 17th-century English immigrant (Swift's ninth great-grandfather and...

He Wasn't Known for Poems, but He Left Behind a Rare One

Novelist Raymond Chandler's 'Requiem' was penned after the loss of his wife from lung disease

(Newser) - Near the end of 1954, the wife of Raymond Chandler died after a long battle with lung disease. The famed crime novelist fell into near-suicidal depression from which he never recovered. He drank heavily and died just five years later, at age 70. Chandler completed no major books after the...

School Library Scraps Inaugural Poem After Parent Complaint

Amanda Gorman says she's 'gutted' that 'The Hill We Climb' was taken out of Fla. elementary library

(Newser) - The young poet who performed her spoken-word piece at President Biden's 2021 inauguration is now at the center of the latest book-banning controversy. Citing documents from the Florida Freedom to Read Project, Politico reports that Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb" has been removed from the...

Rookie Novelist Scores a National Book Award

Gunty's 'The Rabbit Hutch' won fiction prize; Imani Perry won for nonfiction for 'South to America'

(Newser) - Tess Gunty's The Rabbit Hutch, a sweeping debut novel set in a low-income housing community in Indiana, has won the National Book Award for fiction. The 30-year-old Gunty was among three writers nominated for their first published books, per the AP . The nonfiction prize went to Imani Perry's...

'Poet Who Connects' Gets Nod From Library of Congress

Ada Limon, 46, is nation's 24th poet laureate

(Newser) - The country's next poet laureate, Ada Limon, has long thought of her work as a public art form. "I grew up with poetry being in the community," says Limon, a native of Sonoma, Calif. "It wasn't supposed to just be something read on [the] page;...

Poet and Author Who Sparked 1990s Men's Movement Dies

Robert Bly, best known for Iron John , was 94

(Newser) - Robert Bly, one of the most prominent American poets of the last half century and author of the best-selling men’s movement classic Iron John, has died. He was 95. His daughter, Mary Bly, said her father died Sunday at his home in Minneapolis after suffering from dementia for 14...

White Poet Turns Down Job to Translate Gorman Poem

Dutch writer Marieke Lucas Rijneveld nixes assignment after critics say Black writer should do it

(Newser) - A writer who was chosen to translate American poet Amanda Gorman's work into Dutch has handed back the assignment following criticism that a white author was selected to translate the words of a Black woman who's the youngest inaugural poet in US history. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who uses...

Poet Backed the Beats, and Change, With Bookstore

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 101, owned influential City Lights in San Francisco

(Newser) - Poet, publisher, and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat movement, has died. He was 101. Ferlinghetti died at his San Francisco home Monday, the AP reports. The cause was lung disease. Ferlinghetti was known for his influential bookstore, City Lights, an essential San Francisco meeting place...

Amanda Gorman's Fans Make Her Books Bestsellers

'I am on the floor,' inaugural poet says

(Newser) - Amanda Gorman has two books coming out, but not until September. After the poet's performance at President Biden's inauguration Wednesday, they went to the top of a bestseller list anyway. "I am on the floor," Gorman tweeted . "My books are #1 and #2 on Amazon...

Inaugural Poet Finished Work After Capitol Riot

Amanda Gorman is youngest-ever inaugural poet

(Newser) - President Biden is the fourth president to have had a poem read at their inauguration—and at 22, Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet ever. Gorman, who became America's first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, read new work "The Hill We Climb," which she completed...

Boy, 4, Lands Book Deal
Boy, 4, Lands Book Deal

Boy, 4, Lands Book Deal

Nadim Shamma-Sourgen writes 'purely childlike' poems

(Newser) - Not many poets try picking their nose on national television. But then, Nadim Shamma-Sourgen doesn't have much media experience: He just landed his first book deal at the age of four, the Guardian reports. "The poems talk about such important feelings, like love and loneliness, and Nadim finds...

Our Poet Laureate Has Been Named. It's Historic

Joy Harjo, 68, is first-ever Native American in the role

(Newser) - The first Oklahoman to ever be bestowed the title of US poet laureate has another distinction to brag about: She'll also be the first Native American to serve in the role when she takes over for Tracy K. Smith in the fall and becomes the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant...

'We Have to Steal to Eat': The Poetry of Bonnie and Clyde

Notebook thought to contain outlaw verse goes on auction

(Newser) - Outlaw poetry has a new entrant. An auction house in Dallas plans to sell a notebook of what appears to be poetry written by the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. The notebook is essentially a daily planner for 1933, Atlas Obscura reports, and Clyde Barrow's family has had it since...

'Bride Married to Amazement': Poet Mary Oliver Dies

Beloved Pulitzer-winner was 83

(Newser) - Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose rapturous odes to nature and animal life brought her critical acclaim and popular affection, has died. She was 83. Bill Reichblum, Oliver's literary executor, said she died Thursday at her home in Hobe Sound, Florida. The cause of death was lymphoma. "...

Science Proves Boring 'Poet Voice' Exists
Poems May Be Great,
but 'Poet Voice' Is the Pits
new study

Poems May Be Great, but 'Poet Voice' Is the Pits

It's a slow, unnatural style of speaking, say researchers

(Newser) - Just as newscasters have their own speaking style , so, too, do poets. And it's pretty boring. Described by Rich Smith at CityArts as "a precious, lilting cadence" marked by pauses "where pauses need not go," the phenomenon of "poet voice" has now been cemented in...

America's New Poet Laureate Has Big Plans

Tracy K. Smith wants to bring people together through poetry

(Newser) - Tracy K. Smith, the country's new poet laureate, would like to start a conversation. "A poem asks you to let go many of your assumptions, move away from your own certainties and to listen," says Smith, 45, a Pulitzer Prize winner whose appointment to a one-year term...

Nurse Accused of Murdering 8 Patients Wrote Creepy Poem

Elizabeth Wettlaufer accused of killing elderly patients in Canada

(Newser) - A 49-year-old nurse in Canada is accused of murdering eight of her nursing home patients, a crime string that would make her one of the nation's most prolific serial killers, reports the Globe and Mail . And in a decidedly creepy twist, the National Post reports that she once wrote...

The Indy 500 Has Its First Official Poet in 90 Years

Adam Henze chosen for 100th running

(Newser) - An Indiana University student who is a poet and a performer has been named the Indianapolis 500's first official poet since the early 20th century. Adam Henze of Bloomington beat out more than 200 others who submitted Indy 500-themed poems for the contest co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities, reports the...

Lost Tolkien Poems Found in School Annual

Christmas poem, love poem from 1936 'overwhelmed' UK principal who found them

(Newser) - In August, a previously unseen JRR Tolkien retelling of a 19th-century Finnish epic was published. Now the world will get to experience two other lost Tolkien gems: a pair of poems the Lord of the Rings author penned for an English student publication in 1936, the New York Times reports....

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