Poetry: April 2008 Archives

Ginsberg in India

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By DANICA COTO

It was 1961, and Allen Ginsberg was in search of life’s meaning.

His quest would lead him to the gurus and ashrams of India, to its streets and heady opium dens. It is a journey that Deborah Baker tells through journals, letters, memoirs and other documents collected for A Blue Hand: The Beats in India (Penguin, 243 pages, $25.95).

A Blue Hand

Ginsberg’s friends in New York insist that he travel to the East and explore the subcontinent with them, but he does not need much encouragement. Ginsberg had already heard the ancient voice of William Blake reciting poetry inside his Harlem apartment. He had looked outside the window and noticed how everything was created by a ‘‘living hand,’’ how the sky itself was ‘‘the living blue hand.’’

‘‘From that moment, Irwin Allen Ginsberg became a divining rod in the headlong and holy pursuit of God,’’ Baker writes.

Interview with a poet laureate

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Last week I had a conversation with Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein. Click here to read what he had to say. You can also read more about Stein and his initiatives as poet laureate at the following Web sites: poetlaureate.il.gov and www.bradley.edu/poet/stein.

Kevin Stein
Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein.
(Vincent D. Johnson~Pioneer Press)

Local appearance: Stein will read from and discuss his work at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave., Highland Park.

'The Poetry Show' on HBO

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To honor the art form during National Poetry Month, HBO has teamed up with The Poetry Foundation on "Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show," which will feature kids and celebrities alike reading classic poems. Some will be read by the poets themselves. Featured poems include:

* "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost; read by Susan Sarandon.
* "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear; read by John Lithgow.
* Sonnet XVIII by William Shakespeare; read by Jeffrey Wright.
* "How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; read by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Other poets covered are Robert Louis Stevenson, Woody Guthrie, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Federico Garcia Lorca and more. Between each segment, children ages 4-9 will offer commentary.

The show premieres at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow on HBO, with the DVD available April 17.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Poetry category from April 2008.

Poetry: August 2007 is the previous archive.

Poetry: May 2008 is the next archive.

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