Poetry and Media #016

Filed under: Poetry and Media |

Carlos Cumpían, a poet and high school teacher currently working in Chicago, wrote this in his introduction to the 1989 chapbook-length anthology Emergency Tacos: "Today you hear a lot about emergencies; emergency shelters, emergency medicine, emergency maneuvers, emergency pantries. Now, emergency tacos… simón que sí, emergency tacos are what we ordered. And in part, that's what our mini-anthology is about––working under adverse conditions (lack of time, money, and tacos), yet finding solidarity as compañeros en la causa cultural, drawing sustenance when receptive to the Great Spirit, who feeds us all." Emergency Tacos is one of sixty rare books currently on display as part of the University of Arizona Poetry Center's virtual exhibit "60 Books for 60 Years." The exhibition marks the anniversary of the center's founding in 1960. And while there's nothing quite like the feeling of a book in your hand, the "60 Books for 60 Years" virtual display has a lot of high-quality images of some very cool books and broadsides that you're unlikely to see anywhere else. Here's a few more titles worth checking out: Gamma Ut by Theodore EnslinCaritas by Olga BroumasKings from the Moon by Aurel Rau (translated by Virgil Stanciu), Christmas card booklets that Robert Frost sent to his friends, Richard Bigus's masterful rendition of Pablo Neruda's poem "Ode to Typography," and printmaker Felcia Rice's vibrant take on Juan Felipe Herrera's poem "Borderbus" (click here to watch a brief video of Rice discussing the "Borderbus" project). These titles frankly only begin to scratch the surface of what this exhibition has to offer. Click here to explore the rest.

And now, the Poetry and Media digest:
  • Femi Nylander, a British-Nigerian poet, used Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as the roadmap for the upcoming documentary African Apocalypse. The film features Nylander as he travels to Niger and learns about the lasting effects of French colonial rule. Click here to watch the trailer
  • Kevin Young appeared on NPR's Morning Edition to discuss how his work as a poet informs his approach to the National Museum of African History and Culture, an institution he recently became the director of. Click here to listen.
  • Vakhtang Kipiani's book The Vasyl Stus Case is now banned in Ukraine. The ruling, however, has had the paradoxical effect of creating more public interest in the book and the incident it explores. Click here to learn more.
  • John Coble is threatening to sue a North Carolina charter school because the school is teaching Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X, a young adult novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who becomes a slam poet. Coble claims that the book, which won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, is "soft-core pornography." His pathetic quest has raised, as of this writing, $1,730 via GoFundMe (up from $1,200 earlier today). Click here to learn more.
  • Ashfaqullah Khan is known today as "the first Muslim martyr" of the Indian freedom struggle. In a recent profile for the WireHarshvardhan Tripathy and Prabal Saran Agarwal complicate this portrait, showing Khan as a poet and revolutinoary of ideological and political depth. Click here to read about Khan's journey.
  • Abdul Ali, a Portland-based poet and activist, is now the subject of a short film entitled "Carceral Humanism." The film takes its title from one of Ali's poems, and the resulting collaboration is reminiscent of the music video form, but focused on a poem rather than a song. Click here to watch.
  • Len Pennie's poem "I'm no havin' children" went unexpectedly viral, due in part to the way the poem employs the Scots language. Renowned activist and academic Billy Kay, who works to preserve Scots, was especially delighted. Click here to watch Pennie's recitation and to learn more about the impact the poem is having on Scottish readers.
  • John Sinclair recently appeared on an episode of WDET's Between Takes, discussing his poetry, his activism, and his work with the iconic Detroit rock band MC5. Click here to listen.
  • John Cooper Clarke's "Evidently Chickentown" has been repurposed so as to be included in a clothing line by streetwear brand Lost Art. Click here to check out the collaboration. If you're wild about Clarke's poem, a musical version of it was used brilliantly in an episode of The SopranosClick here to watch.
  • Finally, here's two virtual poetry festivals to dig into: SCREENSAVER and The Dodge Poetry Festival. Happening this weekend only, SCREENSAVER features an exciting array of virtual events, as well as some exciting static content of the poetic sort. The Dodge Poetry Festival kicks off this weekend but runs through November 1st. Click on the name of either festival to learn more. 
For tips, comments, questions, or anything in between, drop us a line at pswebed@unl.edu.