Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 21, 2014


Little Brown and Company: The Balcony by Jane Delury

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Katherine Tegen Books: Another Quest for Celeste (Nest for Celeste #2) by Henry Cole

News

BAM Fourth Quarter: Sales Slip, Net Income Jumps

Revenues at Books-A-Million in the fourth quarter ended February 1 fell 3.7%, to $157.9 million, compared to the same period a year earlier, and net income rose 38.2%, to $11.2 million. For the year ended February 1, revenues fell 5.6%, to $470.3 million, and the company had a net loss of $8.7 million, compared to net income of $2.6 million the previous year.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.8% in the fourth quarter, and fell 6.8% for the year.

Books-A-Million CEO and president Terrance G. Finley commented: "We were pleased with our performance in the fourth quarter. We saw our core book business improve from the trends we experienced earlier in the year driven by a strong lineup of new titles. Our new business initiatives also performed well, supported by consumer enthusiasm in pop culture, movies and media. Our team executed our plan admirably despite the challenges presented by the weather in both December and January."

In conference call comments to analysts (via SeekingAlpha), Finley added the company continued in the quarter to see "a strengthening marketplace for physical book" helped by "arguably one of the strongest publishing schedules seen in recent years from great commercial fiction to thought-provoking nonfiction; it was a lineup that included something for everyone. On the adult side, bestselling titles included Charles Krauthammer's Things That Matter; Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus; and new fiction from John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks and Stephen King."

Finley added that despite bad weather in February in much of the country, "we're cautiously optimistic the improved sales trend in the bookstore will continue. And while the publishing schedule is relatively modest, we still have a solid lineup of books to work with and a strikingly book rich media environment with several film and television tie-ins to help drive sales."

BAM operates 256 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia, owns Yogurt Mountain Holding, a retailer and franchisor of self-serve frozen yogurt stores with 43 locations, and develops and manages commercial real estate investments through its Preferred Growth Properties subsidiary. During the quarter, BAM opened two superstores, five traditional stores and closed two superstores. This year, the company closed four stores in trade areas in which it no longer operate other locations.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Sherman's Books & Stationery Opening Fifth Maine Store

Jeff Curtis, owner of Sherman's Books and Stationery stores in Maine, will open his fifth location April 1 at 43 Exchange St. in Portland. In an interview with the Press Herald, Curtis said he expects annual sales of about $5.5 million once the Portland store opens. Some highlights from the interview:

The natural question everyone has is: How does a small, independent bookstore chain survive competing with the likes of Amazon?
Everybody was very concerned in the beginning with Amazon, and more recently with the advent of digital books. But I remember back to the early '60s when we got our first color TV, everybody thought no one would read books any more, but that didn't happen.

Why would customers opt for a bookstore versus going online?
We offer an experience that you can't get online. You can't touch and feel the book and get recommendations from a reader you knew before and trust. In my darker moments, I realize we would have grown more without the Internet and Amazon, but you can't go there. I had a mentor who once gave me some great advice: "Never look at someone else's plate, just figure out if you're still hungry."


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


St. Mark's Bookshop Finds Possible New Location

A possible new location for New York City's St. Mark's Bookshop has been revealed. Co-owner Terry McCoy told Jeremiah's Vanishing New York that the "space we want to move to is at 136 East Third Street, just west of Avenue A. We've been sent a proposed lease, and we have a lawyer who has gone through it and sent comments to the landlord, who is the city, or NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority]. There's a long way to go to signing a lease, though."

McCoy added that while the store's Indiegogo campaign is still the main thrust of the fundraising effort, "we're working on a few other fronts as well. There is a committee of concerned people who want to help called the Friends of St. Mark's Bookshop, who are all working on the issue."


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Brazos Bookstore Gears Up for 40th Anniversary

"There seems to be a weird perception that Houston is a backwater," said Jeremy Ellis, general manager of Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tex. Brazos has been a mainstay of the Houston literary scene for just shy of 40 years, and Ellis has been with the store for nearly three. "There are more bookstores in Houston than any other city in Texas. There's a tremendous reading audience here."

Planning for the store's 40th anniversary, which will come in early April, has fallen to Ellis and his staff of nine. There will be three days of celebrations, from April 4 to April 6, and Brazos plans to honor all those who have made the store a success. The party on April 4 will be devoted to Karl Kilian, the store's founder and long-time owner who sold the bookshop in 2006.

"Karl is a pillar of Houston letters," explained Ellis, who came to Brazos Bookstore after working at two indies in Dallas that have since closed. "And his support of my efforts has been huge. We're kicking it off that Friday with champagne and hors d'oeuvres and music."

From noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, Brazos will host an open house party for customers that will feature kegs, barbecue and activities for kids. Then, on Sunday evening, the store will host a cocktail party honoring its "patrons and partners," including the owner group that bought the store from Karl Kilian.

"When we were planning the anniversary, we thought, should we do readings? Bring in authors?" recalled Ellis. "But we decided no, this should be a celebration for everyone who loves the store."

Over the decades, Brazos has built up a base of loyal customers, and from those customers and community members came the owner group that purchased the store. The neighborhood loved the place so much, Ellis explained, that they didn't want to see it closed. Ellis, in fact, is now a member of that owner group as well, and he's the only one involved with the store on a day-to-day basis.

Jeremy Ellis

Since his first day of work in 2011, Ellis has set out to refocus and revitalize the store, he said. "The store was in something of a decline when I got here. It had gotten too general, lost a little bit of what made it special."

To Ellis, Brazos is a literary bookshop first and foremost ("a smarty pants bookstore," he joked), and he's worked hard to make customers feel that they're in the presence of a "great book brain." As one might expect, literary fiction is the biggest seller; history, science and art books also do well. And every section of the store, from Spanish-language fiction to kid's books, is heavily curated. Ellis's staff members take a big role in inventory selection.

"I really believe in having a chorus of voices," Ellis said. "I really try to empower my team to put in their voices, their personal touch. We're not a huge store; we've got 3,200 square feet of sales space. We never intend to have everything. The store is great because we've found our audience, and we've worked very hard to maximize that experience."

Brazos Bookstore hosts about 200 events per year, and Ellis and his staff are working to increase that number. Ellis has 22 events scheduled for the month of March, and 27 for April. Among the standout events this month is Pirate Week, a week-long event series for kids that coincides with spring break for Houston public schools; the festivities include story times, reading groups, treasure hunts, art projects and a movie night. During summer vacation, Brazos will host reading groups and events for teens and young children, and for adults, summer 2014 has been declared the "Summer of Proust." In the works is a wide array of events, both highbrow and lowbrow, revolving around In Search of Lost Time.

Lately, Ellis has had "visions of expanding," with either an international, all foreign-language store or a kid's-only store, or both, but no plans are in place.

"It's so exciting now, with everything working and all the store's parts moving together," said Ellis. He and the other members of the owner group have their eyes on how to keep Brazos vibrant and evolving for the next four decades. "And the main question is: What do we need to do to grow now that the house is in order?" he continued. "We're looking at how we can expand without leaving this spot. We don't want to lose the essence of what we are. We are all very protective of keeping the original thing intact." --Alex Mutter


McCabe & Company Booksellers Closing

McCabe & Company Booksellers, Crestline, Calif., will close at the end of the month after 35 years in business, the Mountain News reported. Owner Carol Majeska purchased the bookshop in 1979 after she and her husband, John, moved to Crestline and "he gave her his commission check from the publishing of The Scarsdale Diet--he worked for the publisher--and told her to go ahead."

"Owning a bookstore is something I had always wanted to do," she said, adding that it had been been a secure time for independent bookstores in the early years, but numerous changes in the book business made it increasingly difficult to survive.

"This is going to leave a real hole in the community and our lives," Majeska observed.


Obituary Notes: Lucius Shepard; Khushwant Singh

Award-winning author Lucius Shepard, who "wrote in many different genres, including science fiction and fantasy, cyberpunk, magical realism [and] poetry," died March 18, Tor.com reported. He was 66. Shepard won the John Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1985, and during his career he also won the Nebula for his novella R&R, the Hugo for his novella Barnacle Bill the Spacer and the Shirley Jackson Award for his novella Vacancy.

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Khushwant Singh, a "prolific novelist and short-story writer whose newspaper columns often infuriated the Indian establishment," died yesterday, the Guardian reported. He was 99. His long career was bookended by Train to Pakistan (1956), the first of more than 100 novels and story collections, and The Sunset Club (2010), his final novel.


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Mercy Seat
by Elizabeth H. Winthrop 

In Jim Crow-era Louisiana, a handful of townspeople contemplate the impending execution of 18-year-old Willie Jones. As they consider their own roles in the young black man's fate, some with regret, others with a certain sort of vicious pride, author Elizabeth H. Winthrop builds a taut, yet tender portrait of racism, justice and our legal system in The Mercy Seat. Winthrop’s skillful plaiting of multiple viewpoints into an aching, quietly powerful tale is both impressive and effective--you will see yourself in one or more of the characters, and it will make you uncomfortable. But you'll thank Winthrop for the opportunity, which might be the most wondrous work of The Mercy Seat in the end. This is Winthrop's break-out book. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers 

(Grove Press, $26.00 hardcover, 9780802128188, May 8, 2018)

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Notes

Ada's Technical Books & Cafe: 'New Disruptors' in Seattle

Danielle Hulton, co-owner of Ada's Technical Books and Café, was the featured guest on Boing Boing's The New Disruptors podcast, discussing how she "not only opened a bookstore in Seattle in 2010, but recently dramatically expanded the size of the shop by moving to a new space. What led her to leap where others feared to tread, and how do you keep a bookstore current when e-books seem to sucking readers away? Expertise, instant availability, and many lines of business are all part of the process."


Meditation Meets Bookselling at breathe bookstore cafe

Susan Weis-Bohlen, owner of breathe bookstore cafe, Baltimore, Md., was featured in a Sun article about the growing popularity of meditation, the ancient practice that "is gaining traction in the mainstream and in medicine." Weis-Bohlen offers a weekly meditation practice incorporating pranayama (breath work), mantra repetition and meditation instruction.

"Meditation offers you tools to help you let go of the thoughts that cause stress and anxiety," she said. "It teaches you how to be in control of your mind rather than your mind being in control of you. I really encourage people to go out and try it and see what works for them. And don't give up after one or two classes.... Meditation teaches you skills for engaging in life, not drifting through on autopilot."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jimmy Carter on Meet the Press

Today on Fresh Air: Adrian Raine, author of The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime (Vintage, $17.95, 9780307475619).

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Today on MSNBC's the Cycle: Dalton Conley, author of Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476712659).

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Sunday on Meet the Press: Jimmy Carter, author of A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476773957). He will also appear on NPR's Weekend Edition.

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Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopolous: Misty Copeland, author of Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781476737980). She will also be on MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry.

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Sunday on OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Shirley MacLaine, author of What If . . .: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure (Atria, $12.99, 9781476728612).


TV: The Following at Housing Works Bookstore

The most recent episode of Fox TV's serial killer-hunting series The Following "returned to its literary roots" with "Emma and her new crew browsing and slashing their way through Ye Old Housing Works Bookstore. If only they'd been told that sales there benefit a good cause, maybe they would've been more likely to let at least the customers who bought a copy of Carrie's book live," Vulture observed.

TV Guide featured a video in which stunt coordinator Tim Gallin "talked about choreographing the carnage, and [Valorie] Curry and [Sprague] Grayden weigh in on their tussle."



Books & Authors

Awards: Indies Choice; Stella; Red Dot; Oddest Title

Finalists for the 2014 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards in eight categories have been announced by the American Booksellers Association, and ABA members have begun voting online for the winners. Voting ends at midnight EDT on Friday, April 11.

The awards honor books that "indie booksellers champion best," and the E.B. White Read-Aloud finalists also reflect "the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White's collection of beloved books."

Winners will be announced April 17 and will be featured at ABA's Celebration of Bookselling Author Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 29, at BookExpo America.

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A shortlist has been released for the $50,000 Stella Prize, which celebrates Australian women's contribution to literature. The winner will be named in Sydney April 29, with the other five shortlisted authors receiving $2,000 each, courtesy of the Nelson Meers Foundation. This year's finalists are:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Night Games by Anna Krien
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir by Kristina Olsson
The Swan Book by Alexis Wright
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

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We're very happy to note that Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong by A.J. Low (aka Felicia Low-Jimenez and Adan Jimenez, who writes Shelf Awareness's Stand Up Comics graphic novel column), the first in the Sherlock Sam children's book series, has won first place in the Young Readers' category of the Red Dot Book Awards 2013-2014. Hosted by the International School Libraries in Singapore, the Red Dot Book Awards honor titles enjoyed by students of various ages. Books judged under the Younger Readers' category are targeted at children ages 7-10. Winning titles are chosen based on readers' votes.

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The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year went to Mats & Enzo's How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers' Guide to Toilet Etiquette, which garnered 30% of the public vote, edging Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown and The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews (23% each).

Tom Tivnan, features and insight editor at the Bookseller and Diagram Prize administrator, said that "after Mats and Enzo's win this year, with The Origin of Feces on the shortlist, and Saiyuud Diwong's Cooking with Poo taking the crown in 2011, an all too-clear trend emerges. Diagram devotees have spoken, and spoken in no uncertain terms: poo wins prizes."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594631399). "In 1953, Boy Novak runs away from her home on the Lower East Side of New York and ends up in a small town in Massachusetts. She marries Arturo Whitman, a widower with an adored daughter named Snow, and the three live happily until the birth of Bird, whose dark skin exposes the Whitmans as African-Americans passing for white. Oyeyemi is a stunning talent who examines the disparity in how we perceive ourselves and how we allow others to perceive us. Boy, Snow, Bird is a bewitching and beguiling tale with unforgettable characters." --Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel by TaraShea Nesbit (Bloomsbury, $25, 9781620405031). "In 1943, families of mathematicians and scientists, escorted under high security, move to the Hill--Los Alamos, New Mexico. Not knowing where they're going or why, these wives from all over the world cut their ties with friends and relatives to live in isolation, without telephones or uncensored mail. Based on the history of the development of 'the Gadget'--the atomic bomb--this novel reads like a collective diary of hundreds of wives. This unique first-person plural recounting of real events culminates with varied reactions to the use of this powerful weapon on the people of Japan. Nesbit portrays these delicate issues brilliantly!" --Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Paperback
The Weirdness: A Novel by Jeremy P. Bushnell (Melville House, $16.95, 9781612193151). "If the Devil wanted to make a deal with you but it was because he really wasn't such a bad guy and he needed help saving the planet, would you agree? If you're aspiring novelist Billy Ridgeway, of course you would. It's only Lucifer. What could possibly go wrong? Bushnell does a hilariously great job constructing a contemporary tale of moral and spiritual dilemmas, and also expertly describes the ego and nuances of a struggling writer--a whole other kind of demon!" --Liberty Hardy, RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.

For Ages 4 to 8
Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel (Beach Lane Books, $17.99, 9781442458802). "Everyone loves bugs, even little ones who aren't quite old enough for those big, encyclopedia-style bug books. This illustrated rhyming picture book is perfect for those little bug-lovers. The watercolor collage illustrations are bright and vibrant, and the text is simple and clear. A perfect springtime pick!" --Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: Marcus J. Guillory

photo: Kawai Matthews

Born to a working-class family from Louisiana, Marcus Guillory grew up in Houston, Tex., in the early '70s. He earned his J.D. at Tulane. In 2006, he became the first American to write a "produced" Bollywood movie, Karma, Confessions & Holi. Guillory has produced reality television for E! Network, TRU TV, MTV and other networks. His short stories can be found in Outcry, Secret Attic (U.K.), Dogmatika and other literary periodicals. Red Now and Laters (Atria, March 11, 2014) is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles.

On your nightstand now:

The Republic of East L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez; Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt and Black Elk; Mythology by Edith Hamilton.

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I was a kid, my mom bought a set of encyclopedias and placed them on the small dining table where I ate most of my meals. I used to trace the pictures in the encyclopedia until I could read and understand what was actually in the books. I gravitated toward history, geography and biographies.

Top five authors:

Jorge Amado, Paul Beatty, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison and Percival Everett.

Book you've faked reading:

None. I started Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace a few times and just lost interest; it was making my head hurt. A few times I wanted to say I had completed that book so as to sound deep or whatever, but I didn't want to come off pretentious. I mean, it's bad enough that my undergrad degree is in philosophy.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Cane by Jean Toomer. Is it poetry? Is it prose? This is the book: cadence, tone, all of the above. Short, distracted yet oddly cohesive.

Book you've bought for the cover:

None.

Book that changed your life:

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I really got into this book during my senior year in high school when I was going through a series of interviews for college scholarships. I identified with the protagonist wangling favor from wealthy white patrons in a racially tense environment. When I would return to my "hood" after these interviews, I felt the sense of being invisible, yet when I'd go to these interviews, I felt an intense feeling of being on display, like the boxing scene in Ellison's novel.

Favorite line from a book:

"Something was troubling me, some idea was lurking back there in my mind waiting for the coast to clear to be born. That's what I was trying to do with the sun in my face and my prick in my hand, trying to clear my stage, trying to take a shortcut to Purityville so that whatever it was would come out and rap to me." --Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song


Book Review

Review: All I Have in This World

All I Have in This World by Michael Parker (Algonquin, $24.95 hardcover, 9781616201623, March 25, 2014)

In the classic American road novel, whether Huck Finn decides to "light out for the territory" or Dean Moriarty goes hitchhiking "on the road," the objective is to leave trouble behind and find the freedom to make your own new troubles. In Michael Parker's All I Have in This World, Marcus Banks abandons his foreclosed farm in North Carolina and packs his truck to head for Mexico. No wide-eyed kid trying to find himself, Marcus is in his 40s, single and estranged from his only sister. Dubious of the ubiquitous cliché "it is what it is," he sees that "in that sliver of discrepancy between is and is not lay the most succulent meat, the tender flesh upside the bone."

After his truck is stolen in Pinto Canyon, Tex., he finds the perfect replacement car: a sky-blue 1984 Buick Electra, "a hulk of steel and chrome and vinyl devoid of the messiness of unhinged humans." Eyeing the same car is Maria, who grew up in Pinto Canyon, got pregnant, aborted the baby and dropped the man, then ran off to be a chef in Oregon. She's back in town to help her mother run her motel. Impulsive but wary, she agrees to buy the car 50-50 with Marcus.

Parker (The Watery Way of the World) knows how to set a stage--a disconnected young woman and a disappointed older man, a classic American car, plenty of open highway--but the wonderful twist in Parker's road novel is that Marcus and Maria don't go anywhere. The shared Electra and the charts of who drives which days, Maria's attempts to make amends with her taciturn mother and estranged brother, Marcus's efforts to repay his sister for the lost family land, the rough beauty of West Texas and its small towns--all this Parker rolls together to build a generous story of human redemption.

In a beautiful run-on description of a tube ride down the Guadalupe River, Parker captures the brief moments of happiness that come when we can let our troubles go. Hanging on to Maria's tube, Marcus reflects: "Here I am wearing a pair of Jams I got at the Dollar General for $4.99 floating down a sweet green river with a woman with whom I bought a low silky ride... and in the cooler are a couple of cans of ice-cold Beck's... in Texas, of all places Texas... thankful also to the Buick for not overheating or throwing a rod and to Earth, Wind and Fire for writing 'That's the Way of the World.' " That's all that a good road novel needs to give us. --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: In this road novel about learning to stay put, two mismatched loners are brought together in West Texas by their shared ownership of a classic 1984 Buick Electra.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Get Poeting' on World Poetry Day!

Every year, UNESCO celebrates those who give life to poetry as one of the highest forms of linguistic and cultural expression. Poetry is a song of freedom, enabling us to affirm our identity through creation. Poetry is also the song of our deepest feelings; in the words of the Brazilian poet and diplomat João Cabral de Melo Neto, "even unintentionally, every word that comes from emotion is poetry." Through its words and its rhythm, poetry gives shape to our dreams of peace, justice and dignity, and gives us the strength and desire to mobilize to make them real.
--Irina Bokova, UNESCO director-general

Today is World Poetry Day, which was established by UNESCO in 1999 and is observed annually on March 21. One of its main objectives is "to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities."

The festivities are also meant to "encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity."

Here's a global sampling of World Poetry Day celebrations:

Harry Man

At the 53rd Struga Poetry Evenings festival in Macedonia this week, British poet Harry Man won the Bridges of Struga award for his debut collection, Lift, while Korean author Ko Un was honored with the prestigious Golden Wreath award.

In Ghana, "they are taking the word art to a whole new dimension by spicing the shows up with the best performance spoken-word artists in the country." World Poetry Day celebrations include spoken-word workshops; flash mob and street performances; a national senior high school poetry slam championship; and a final concert, all sponsored by Goethe Institut and G3 Channels, in conjunction with the Ghana National Theatre, Talk-Fact3, Writers Project Ghana, IUB and Inkfluent.

A replica of the iconic writing shed used by Dylan Thomas will make its first appearance Saturday in Carmarthen, Wales. During the centennial year of his birth, Thomas's shed, a "bespoke replica [that] even has the curled pictures on the walls and the view over the estuary," is touring the U.K.

"It's Poetry Day! Get Poeting!" is the sound advice offered by the blog for English at the Colegio Público de Espiñeira Aldan in Spain. 

The Slovenia Times noted that to "mark World Poetry Day, the Slovenian Writers' Association will hold a poetry and musical evening at the Ljubljana Town Hall's atrium. Poems will also be read in front of the headquarters of Maribor University. Meanwhile, the Iriu Institute has selected poems by several Slovenian and foreign poets which will be served with coffee at selected coffee shops in Ljubljana and Celje."
 
In Manitoba, Canada, Brandon University is commemorating the day with an hour-long "Celebration of Dead Poets and Their Poetry," during which participants will perform their favorite works from great poets of the past.

Tulasi Diwasa

Nepali poet Tulasi Diwasa is one of more than 50 poets from around the world invited to the World Poetry Festival in New Delhi, India. The festival was organized to celebrate World Poetry Day as well as the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

On the Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, "Cross-Generations: A Gathering of Soualiga's Poets" will be held in the Philipsburg Jubilee Library's hall. Lysanne Charles, president of Foundation 5 Square Miles St. Martin and coordinator of the event, said the island "has a long history of poets and in the last 30 years or so published poets. Cross-Generations celebrates the vibrancy of this and pays homage to the older poets and our publishing outlet House of Nehesi Publishers.... It is important that we acknowledge the word of the written and spoken word on the island and the ability it has to transform things."

Tonight, the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, Calif., will host La Poesia Festival World Poetry Day, featuring several poets and inviting people to "bring original poetry in Spanish/bilingual to share."

And Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington has asked "readers of all ages and backgrounds" to participate in Virgilpalooza, a marathon reading of Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid.

In his aptly titled poem "World Poetry Day," Polish author Tadeusz Rozewicz writes:

around noon the phone rang
"today is poetry day"
said Maria
"I can't hear you!"
"today is World Poetry Day, o poet!"
it's been established by Unesco"
Even Ionesco couldn't have thought up
something like this! this is something (something)!

Something indeed. Happy World Poetry Day. Now, go out there and get poeting! --Robert Gray, contributing editor

 


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