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Poetry

Samuel L. Jackson Performs ‘Boy Meets World’-Themed Slam Poetry

Just in time for National Poetry Month, Django Unchained actor Samuel L. Jackson recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and performed slam poetry about the 90′s American sitcom, Boy Meets World.

In the video embedded above, Jackson makes references to the Corey-Topanga love story, the Corey-Shawn bromance, and Eric’s infamous “Feeny” call.

According to Mental Floss, Fallon later asked Jackson whether or not he was a fan of Boy Meets World; Jackson admitted that it’s probable he had never even “seen one episode.”

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New York City Hosts Twitter Poetry Contest

twitter304In celebration of National Poetry Month, New York City is once again hosting a Twitter poetry contest.

To enter, all poets must include the #NYCPoetweet hashtag in their tweets. All participants must adhere to this rule: “keep it clean and to one tweet.”

According to silive.com, “the best tweets posted before April 8 will be considered for publication in Metro New York on April 24, or ‘Poem in Your Pocket Day.’” First Lady Chirlane McCray, poet and wife to Mayor Bill de Blasio, will serve as one of the judges. Follow this link to learn more details about the contest and view last year’s winning poems.

‘The Paris American’ Shares ‘Film Sonnet’ by James Franco

James FrancoThe Paris American has selected actor James Franco as their “Poet of the Week.”

Franco (pictured, viashared the news on Facebook and received more than 6,000 “likes.” The online magazine posted Franco’s poem “Film Sonnet.”

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Marilyn Nelson: ‘Many performance poets seem to believe that yelling a poem makes it comprehensible’

marilyn nelsonHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson.

Throughout her career, Nelson has written several volumes of poetry. Earlier this year, Penguin Books for Young Readers published her memoir How I Discovered Poetry. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

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4th Annual Shakespeare Sonnet Slam on Kickstarter

Melinda Hall hopes to raise $1,600 for the 3rd Annual Shakespeare Sonnet Slam. This free event, celebrating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, is scheduled to take place in New York City on April 25, 2014.

The stage, the Naumburg Bandshell inside Central Park, will feature readings of all 154 Shakespearean sonnets. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“This is our 4th year and so far, we’ve had Sonnet Readers from ages 8-96 perform their Sonnet and there have been Readers from over 30 Countries.  Some Readers are professional actors but many are not, they just share a common love of Shakespeare and are willing to get up on that stage to perform. The audience is comprised of people of all ages who stay for as little as 10 minutes or stay the entire three hours and hear all 154 Sonnets by 154 Readers.”

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National Endowment for the Arts Reveals Poetry Out Loud Finals

poetryOn April 29-30, 53 high school students from across the nation will gather in Washington, DC for the 9th annual National Finals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.

At the event, hosted by Neda Ulaby, Arts & Culture Reporter for National Public Radio, these teens will recite poems on stage in a public forum in order to compete for the top award. Guest judges include poets Ming Di, Valerie Martínez, novelist Tope Folarin, Poets House Director Lee Briccetti, and actor/performer Chris Sarandon.

The finalists have been narrowed down from a pool of 365,000 entrants from more than 2,300 schools nationwide. The top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards. The public is free to attend, and the event will also be webcast live.

Darren Aronofsky’s 7th Grade Poem Inspired Him to Adapt ‘Noah’

Noah DirectorFilmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s desire to adapt the story of “Noah’s Ark” originates from a seventh grade poetry assignment. Aronofsky (pictured, via) wrote “The Dove,” his own version of the famous biblical tale, after his teacher Vera Fried asked her students to “write a poem about peace.”

According to Variety, he credits Fried as the person who inspired him “to become a writer.” Indiewire has posted the poem in its entirety; here’s an excerpt:

“The rain continued through the night
And the cries of screaming men filled the air
The ark was afloat
Until the dove returned with the leaf
Evil still existed.”

David Tennant Reads ‘Sonnet 126′ by William Shakespeare

Happy National Poetry Month! To kick off this month-long celebration, we’ve dug up a video featuring Dr. Who actor David Tennant reading William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 126.”

Tennant delivered this performance for Touch Press’ 2012 iPad app, “The Sonnets.” Additionally, Tennant recorded recitations of sonnets #12, #18, and #71 for this app. What’s your favorite Shakespearean sonnet?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’ Translation to Be Published

TolkienJ.R.R. Tolkien‘s translation Beowulf will be published a full-fledged book entitled Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary. The Guardian reports that The Lord of the Rings series author (pictured, via) completed his translation back in 1926.

Additional content within the book includes some of Tolkien’s lectures on the Old English poem. Tolkien’s son, Christopher, will serve as the editor of this project.

According to The Bookseller, HarperCollins has the UK rights and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired the US rights. The publishers aim to release the finished hardcover book in May 2014.

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8th Grader’s Poem Draws 144,000+ Tweets

A palindromic poem written by a 14-year-old named Jordan Nichols went viral after his older brother Derek tweeted a photo of it (embedded above). The piece, entitled “Our Generation,” has attracted more than 144,000 retweets.

According to The Independent, the poem “at first appears to paint a gloomy picture of modern society and one obsessed with careers and money…In reverse the poem is a lot more optimistic, a declaration of hope full of the kind of one-liners you would expect in a presidential address, and all this from an 8th grader.”

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