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Blog Posts by Subject: Poetry

I ♥ G-Dubs: A Love Letter to the George Washington Bridge on Its 80th Birthday

The George Washington Bridge (Photo: Jason Megraw)

Most New Yorkers, when asked to name NYC landmarks, will conjure up the familiar array of iconographic symbols that make up our city: the Statue Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Ground Zero Memorial, etc. — but having grown up in Washington Heights, I can’t help but place the George Washington Bridge among the great monuments of Gotham pride. Ever since its completion in 1931, this stunning suspension bridge has remained a sight that never gets old, one which 

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Library Way

Ask NYPL gets a lot of questions about the sidewalk on Library Way. If you haven't seen it before, on your next trip to the main building on Fifth Avenue, be sure to approach from the east and

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Slam Poetry in NYC

Slam Poetry is alive and well in New York City and beyond. Check out this slam the NYPL and Urban Word hosted at the Bronx Library Center, featuring the Precision Poetry Drill Team.  With so many of the Urban Word visiting poets coming from the Slam tradition, I want to take a moment and discuss the art form and point you towards exciting Slam events, videos, and resources in New York City.

The history of slam poetry is complicated, almost as 

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Further Reading: Activism Through Poetry

Slam poetry is a new and unique development in modern literature. Activism through poetry, however, has been around for as long as the art form itself has. I’ve never had a cup of coffee and talked shop with any of the Urban Word Masterpoets, but I’d love to. I want to share some of the history and tradition of activism in African-American art and culture. Best of all, books and CDs of all of the artists mentioned here are available at your local 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Aracelis Girmay at Urban Word

Aracelis Girmay received a red typewriter in seventh grade, and she never looked back. Just like the young poets at Urban Word, she figured out early on that writing poetry could change her life, and the lives of everyone around her. She said it better than I ever can:

"When I was 13, though, I read The 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Roger Bonair-Agard at Urban Word

Roger Bonair-Agard is the guest of Urban Word NYC on August 3, and he is definitely not afraid to speak his mind. When the media reports that the world’s first all-black penguin is “assimilating nicely,” Roger is there to fire back a volley. While Lil’ Wayne raps about bling, Roger pokes fun at his tattoos and interviews with Katie Couric. We need Roger Bonair-Agard out there fighting, shouting so that he can be heard above the 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Roger Sedarat at Urban Word

Now more than ever, the world needs to hear from Roger Sedarat. Since his career began, he’s been raging against oppressive regimes throughout the world, but his focus is Iran. He wants his work to help the Iranian people seize their country for their own. Sometimes this plays out in a symbolic way in his work, and sometimes in more literal fashion. He laments lost loved ones, lost human rights, and lost culture. He focuses his anger to a point and uses it to change people’s minds. Witness this video of his 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Aimee Nezhukumatathil at Urban Word

Urban Word’s Summer Wordshops are rolling right along. On Wednesday, July 27, Aimee Nezhukumatathil joins the fray for an afternoon workshop at Urban Word HQ from 3 to 5 p.m. Head downtown afterwards to hear her read from her new book, Lucky Fish, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

I’ve never been to Southeast Asia, but after reading Lucky Fish, I feel like I have. Nezhukumatathil (Nez for 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Poetry Workshops with Urban Word

This summer, The New York Public Library is pleased to partner with Urban Word NYC for a summer of poetry. Urban Word hosts poetry workshops year-round for teens, and they are free, free, free — the best kind of entertainment in New York City.

I’m psyched to hear some of the poetry that our amazing teens come up with to welcome their first visiting poet in the Summer Build-A-Peace series, Alexis DeVeaux. She’s a Harlem native that has spent the better part of 

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The Writers' Club — The End of the World?

Harold Camping predicted the world would end on May 21, 2011. These are our responses:

Judgment day came late this year     or early or sheepishly on the news I stood by the window ready to jump — On the ledge — It wasn’t that I wanted something to happen, But if it did I was prepared. 89-year-old Jimmy Burly Jones Said the world would end at six. (I thought he was talking about himself or his own life that he couldn’t fix). It wasn’t until I turned the TV on — on PIX That’s WPIX ... The 

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The Tree of Life & the Poem of Being

The Tree of Life opens May 27th in theaters; of course, having not yet seen the film there is little I can say about it (the studio released only a few plot details), but a discussion of his previous films may inform a deeper viewing more than simply assuming a passive stance. All too often, we are encouraged to receive films or books this way, in some vague popular idea that our minds are storage receptacles and that we simply experience a movie more or less in the fashion the filmmakers intended. I would like to counter this idea and 

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April in the Reader's Den: Featured Poets from the L.E.S Review

Our final week of April in the Reader's Den will focus on the selected works of poets contributing to a new poetry and arts journal, The L.E.S Review, founded by poet, artist, and Pratt Institute Library and Information Science student Jesi Bender.

In the five years Jesi has lived in New York City, she has accumulated friends in all facets of the arts, and worked for various art institutions throughout Manhattan and Williamsburg.  In other words, 

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After the Kiss: A (poetic) Review

Camille isn't impressed with her new town. It's nothing like her old town (or the one before that, or the one before that). It's tedious making new friends during senior year only to move on like she always does, like they all will with college around the corner. Still, she'll put on a show and pretend it all matters while she marks time until her escape like she always does.

Until she meets Alec at a party. He isn't the boy she left behind. But he's here. He's smart. He's a poet. That's pretty close to perfect.

Camille doesn't want to get involved or 

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April in the Reader's Den: Rainer Maria Rilke

Once upon a time, when I was a backpacking young Bohemian visiting Prague, I had a roomate who introduced me to the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. Having toted the books with him across continents for quiet contemplation, I wondered, what was it about Rilke's words that inspired such steadfast devotion?

Born in Prague in 1875 in what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire,

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April in the Reader's Den: The Haiku of Matsuo Bashō

The Edo period of Japan (1603 - 1868) was considered one of the most stable and peaceful eras in Japanese history. At this time Japan was a fuedalist state ruled by shoguns of the Tokugawa family, but there was simultaneously a significant flourishing of arts and culture. A revival of the principles of

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Shakespeare - Day 1 (+ 2)

We're off and running.  Today was fascinating.  Professor Matt spoke convincingly about the various solutions, or non-solutions, to the end of the sonnets.  At each sonnet's end, at the end of the 'young man' sonnets, or the 'dark lady's' sonnets, or the end of the set, or the end with "A Lover's Complaint" to follow?  All indeterminate, false and tricksy.  The sonnets seem to invite that.  But what was really fun was John Benson (no, not Ben Jonson - one can't make these things up) and his re-ordering and regrouping of the sonnets into a 

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The Challenges of Finding a Pocket-Sized Poem

Thursday April 14th is Poem in Your Pocket Day.  This tradition began in New York City in 2002 and expanded nationally several years later.  If you go to New York City's PIYPD page, you can learn about special events that will take place that day, and even read some poems by mayor Michael Bloomberg.  But let's get to the real question... how will you pick the right poem for your pocket?

First, let me begin with a story from my own past that emphasizes the 

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WOW: A Poetry Celebration

WOW @ The Library: Celebrating a Centennial of Women’s Poetry

April is poetry month! “What is poetry?.” Is poetry perhaps a garden of expressions blooming in the light of thoughtful thoughts? Wonderful words dancing to the rhythm of rhymes? or Sweet tweets that spring from swayable heartbeats? 

According to

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April in the Reader's Den: The Poetry of Rumi, Persian Mystic

April 2011 marks the 16th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and we shall embark on this sweet 16 with an appreciation of everyone's favorite Sufi mystical poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, otherwise known as Rumi (1207 - 1273 AD). Born in a remote Persian village in the region now known as Tajikistan, Rumi wrote poems of longing and ecstacy that made sweeping parallels between romantic and spiritual love. He was particularly fascinated with the use 

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Haikus in Winter and Some Summer Talk in Spring: The Teen Central Writers' Club

A Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that has become popular in the U.S. In English Haikus are generally three line poems that have five syllables in the first verse, seven in the second and five in the third—we generally stuck to this form although since it's poetry, we allowed for some poetic license. In January and February as we negotiated our way around what seemed like non-stop snow, members of the Writers Club, inspired by cool scenes of the winter photography of Crystal Odame and the summer hot artwork of Romare Bearden, wrote 

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