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Tomas Tranströmer Wins 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature

Perennial bridesmaid Tomas Tranströmer has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. The 80-year-old Swedish poet became the eighth European winner over the past 10 years and the first Swede to win the prize since 1974. Born in 1931, the poet has been tipped as a possible Nobel winner for many years but always […]

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Poets on postage stamps

The Poetry Foundation informs us that the United States Post Office is honoring 10 poets on postage stamps. The list features Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. I like the idea of Sylvia Plath on one of my […]

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Philip Levine: America’s new poet laureate

Congratulations to Philip Levine, who will today become America’s next poet laureate. He succeeds W. S. Merwin. Levine is 83 and has written around 20 collections of poetry, and won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Simple Truth. Levine isn’t bothered by his advanced years. “I feel pretty good,” he said, adding that […]

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Sad Keanu publishes poetry

Strange things ARE afoot at the Circle K. Keanu Reeves, the actor who brought us cinematic greats like Speed, Speed 2, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and Johnny Mnemonic* continues to give back to the world, this time with a book of poetry titled Ode To Happiness. The New York Daily News explains that “Ode […]

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Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas dies at 93

Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas, one of Latin America’s great voices in poetry, has died at the age of 93. Rojas won many literary awards, including the 2003 Cervantes Prize – the No.1 award in Spanish-language literature.

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Vancouver International Poetry Festival coming soon

Over on AbeBooks’ main Canadian page, we are previewing the inaugural Vancouver International Poetry Festival, which begins on April 18 and goes until April 23. The event celebrates the spoken and written word, and showcases a wide variety of exceptional poets from Canada and beyond. Some of the headline acts include Susan Musgrave, bill bissett, […]

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One reader’s favorite book to touch

Tomorrow is the final day to enter our Tree of Codes contest. Entering is easy – just tell me about your favorite tactile book, the book you have most enjoyed touching. We have received lots of entries and I’m going to share one with you. It’s from a lady called Karen in California. When I […]

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David Brent critiques John Betjeman’s Slough poem

John Betjeman famously wrote “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!”. And frankly, the town of Slough has never recovered from that literary slagging. I love this clip from original (and the best) version of The Office where David Brent critiques Betjeman’s poem….”There’s nothing wrong with Maidenhead. Maidstone’s a sh*thole.”

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Jo Shapcott interview

The Guardian has an interview with poet Jo Shapcott, who won the Costa Prize earlier this week with her poetry collection Of Mutability. She’s an Arsenal fan, influenced by American poet Elizabeth Bishop and studied under Seamus Heaney at Harvard.

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Star-Spangled Banner poem sells for $506,500

A first edition of Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner poem, the text of which became the American national anthem, has sold more than $500,000, the BBC reports.

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