Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know?

Today's post is another in a periodic series featuring items about artists, writers, poets, and poetry that you may or may not know.

Did You Know . . .

✦ The Women of Appalachia Project published in March 2017 Women Speak: Spoken Word Selections from Throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia (see image below). The chapbook presents work by 25 poets, storytellers, and musicians.

✦ Oklahoma's new state Poet Laureate is Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Ph.D. She succeeds Nathan Brown (2015-2016). In addition to being a poet, Mish is an essayist and short fiction writer, as well as a literary scholar. She is a contributing editor for Oklahoma Today magazine and Sugar Mule: A Literary Journal; editor for Mongrel Empire Press; and director of The Red Earth Creative Writing M.F.A. program at Oklahoma City University. The award-winning writer's most recent poetry collection is What I Learned at the War (West End Press, 2016).

Jeannetta Calhoun Mish Website

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish on FaceBook

James D. Watts Jr., "ARTS: Jeanetta Calhoun Mish Named State Poet Laureate", Tulsa World, March 24, 2017

✦ Salt Lake City's Paisley Rekdal has been appointed Poet Laureate of Utah. She succeeds Lance Larsen (2012-2016). The creator and editor of Mapping Salt Lake City, a nonprofit community project based on Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (University of California Press, 2010), the award-winning Rekdal, who also is an essayist, memoirist, and nonfiction writer,  teaches at the University of Utah. Her most recent poetry collection is Imaginary Vessels (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) (see image at left). Forthcoming is Rekdal's book-length essay The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam (University of Georgia Press, September 2017).

Paisley Rekdal on FaceBook and Twitter

Paisley Rekdal Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

"U. English Professor Named Utah Poet Laureate", Deseret News, May 1, 2017

University of Arizona Poetry Center, "Bookmarked: Paisley Rekdal", February 1, 2017

✦ The marvelous and beloved illustrator Maurice Sendak, who died five years ago (1928-2012), credited children's achievement of catharsis through fantasy as "the best means . . . for taming Wild Things. It is my involvement with this inescapable fact of childhood—the awful vulnerability of children and their struggle to make themselves King of All Wild Things—that gives my work whatever truth and passion it may have." (Maurice Sendak,  Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speech, 1964)

Sendak's famous book Where the Wild Things Are was titled originally Where the Wild Horses Are. While he could draw Wild Things, he had to admit to his editor  that "the whole horse thing wasn't going to work out." (Stacy Conradt, "10 Things You Might Not Know About Maurice Sendak", Mental Floss, February 18, 2015)

✦ The nearly 11,000-square-foot American Writers Museum opened May 16 in Chicago, Illinois. Among its multimedia installations is the Word Waterfall and The Surprise Bookshelf, and a wall of quotations with an interactive "do-it-yourself dialogue generator". The galleries include "A Nation of Writers" and "The Mind of a Writer". (Jennifer Schuessler, "An Everyman Museum to Celebrate American Writers", The New York Times, May 8, 2017)

American Writers Museum on FaceBook and Instagram

✦ According to A Decade of Arts Engagement: Findings From the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 2002-2012 (National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Research Report #58, January 2015), 6 percent of American adults did creative writing in 2012, while 15 percent had taken a creative writing class or lesson. The proportion of the U.S. adult population that read poetry in 2012 was 6.7 percent, down from 8.3 percent in 2003 and 12.1 percent in 2002. Women (8 percent) were more likely than men (5.2 percent) to have read poetry.

✦ Locust Grove, Oklahoma, is the headquarters of the nonprofit Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry (ROMP). Its "Poems in the Pasture" project, described as "a walking meditation and poetry-writing or thinking or reading exercise in the field next to the museum", features a small labyrinth mowed into the field that includes "stops along the way to read poetry, consider various ideas, write and enjoy the natural world." The museum offers exhibits and a variety of events. Next-door is a Poet's Retreat space.

✦ Since November 8, 2016, the Langston Hughes poem "Let America Be America Again" has been viewed at least 280,000 times on the Academy of American Poets Website. (Alexandra Alter, "American Poets, Refusing to Go Gentle, Rage Against the Right", The New York Times, April 21, 2017) 

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