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Posts Tagged ‘John Ashbery’

PEN American Center Posts Letter Advocating For Free Speech to Sony Pictures CEO

PENThe hackers behind The Interview incident have elicited both anger and fear throughout the country. The PEN American Center has sent a letter addressed to the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, to protest against this act of censorship. The organization has posted the full piece on its website.

Besides various PEN executives and trustees, several high profile writers have also signed this note. Some of the participants include PEN president emeritus Salman Rushdie, novelist Neil Gaiman, children’s books illustrator Jules Feiffer, poet John Ashbery, and playwright Tony Kushner. Here’s an excerpt:

“PEN is appalled at the intrusive, criminal and profoundly menacing reprisals and threats that Sony Pictures has endured as a result of producing and planning to distribute The Interview. PEN has long stood with writers and creators who have suffered assaults aimed to suppress the dissemination of their ideas. We believe firmly that violence is never justified as a reaction to speech, no matter how offensive that speech may be to some.”

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John Ashbery Overcomes eBook Poetry Issues

johnashberyEver since eBooks have come out, authors have been concerned about how their work is is represented in the digital format. This is an especially pertinent issue for poets, whose use of the line on the page is part of the work itself.

But as digital continues to evolve, eBook developers are better preserving line breaks and stanza spacing. Just ask John Ashbery. Just a few years back the poet demanded that four eBook collections of his poetry be pulled after the format mutilated the work. But the 87 year-old has not given up on the digital format and in conjunction with digital publishing house Open Road, has published 17 digital collections of his work. This time, the technology is much better than his first time out.  Read more

Lois Lowry Wins the Best of Brooklyn, Inc. Award

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This year’s Brooklyn Book Festival brought more than three hundred writers to the literary borough.

Brooklyn Borough president and event founder Marty Markowitz boasted that it is now the third largest literary festival in the country.

Each year, the festival recognizes a literary figure whose work embodies the Brooklyn spirit with the Best of Brooklyn, Inc. award (BoBi). Two-time Newbery medalist Lois Lowry won the award this year.

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Lemony Snicket Selects & Annotates Poetry Portfolio

Bestselling children’s author Lemony Snicket has selected and annotated 20 different poems for a special called “Poetry Not Written for Children That Children Might Nevertheless Enjoy” portfolio in the September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine.

Caldecott winner Chris Raschka illustrated the collection. You can read the portfolio online as well. The portfolio includes work by Sherman Alexie, John Ashbery, Dorothea Lasky and Eileen Myles. Snicket (the pen-name of Daniel Handler) had this comment:

Some time ago I found myself locked in the basement of the Poetry Foundation building.… The basement is crammed with the efforts of poets living and dead, famed and forgotten, terrific and terrible.… By the time it was safe for me to emerge, blinking, onto the streets of Chicago, I had gathered together the poems you now find here.

Jhumpa Lahiri Wins Best of Brooklyn, Inc. Award

Despite the cold snap yesterday, readers from all over New York City attended the sixth annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Reportedly, it is the largest book festival in the Northeast. In the video embedded above, you can meet some of the participating authors.

Pulitzer prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri won this year’s Best of Brooklyn, Inc. award (BoBi). Lahiri was born in London, but now calls Brooklyn home. Each year, the festival recognizes a literary figure whose work embraces and speaks to the Brooklyn spirit. Previous recipients of the BoBi award include John Ashbery (2010), Edwidge Danticat (2009), Walter Mosley (2008) and Paul Auster (2007).

Festival founder and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz commented: “It’s all about the written word and how important reading is for all of us. Whether we’re kids who use reading to make ourselves into what we’re going to be in our life or whether you’re an elder person, like myself. Knowledge doesn’t stop at a certain age; it continues for life.”

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MTV’s First Poet Laureate

The New York Times’ Melena Ryzik reports that MtvU, the subsidiary of MTV Networks that is broadcast only on college campuses, will announce today that it has selected its first poet laureate: John Ashbery, the prolific 80-year-old poet and frequent award winner known for his dense, postmodern style and playful language. One of the most celebrated living poets, Ashbery has won MacArthur Foundation and Guggenheim fellowships and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection SELF-PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR.

According to Stephen K. Friedman, the general manager of mtvU, which broadcasts at 750 campuses nationwide, was the No. 1 choice to inaugurate the position. “He resonates with college students that we’ve talked with,” said Friedman. And Ashber was immediately receptive. “It seemed like it would be a chance to broaden the audience for poetry.” But will droves of young people respond? “It’s our hope that we will interest college kids in poetry in a new way, make it hip for them,” said Daniel Halpern, the publisher of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins that has published Ashbery’s work. But, Halpern admitted, “it’ss very hard to tell what exactly is going to come of all this.”