Poetry 365

kate tempest

Poet Kate Tempest

This month for Poetry 365 we’re featuring Kate Tempest’s extraordinary long poem Brand New Ancients.  Winner of the 2012 Ted Hughes Award, the British poet/rapper/novelist’s second book of verse finds the mythic in the mundane story of half-brothers Thomas and Clive and their violently converging fates in southeast London.  Hypnotic, operatic, and “written to be read aloud,” Brand New Ancients was lauded by The Scotsman as “a torrent of poetry so brilliant that the words often seem to glow and smoke with intensity.”  So check out this powerful new voice, sample an excerpt below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

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Happy Birthday, Tom Robbins!

Yesterday marked the 83rd birthday of outlaw novelist-poet Tom Robbins, and in lieu of cake and candles, we’re celebrating with this candid animated interview courtesy of Blank on Blank.  Originally recorded in 1994, the rascally Robbins talks at length about the quirks of his creative approach including how “a raven quill dipped in lizard blood” is preferable to writing on a typewriter.  So spice up your reading list with Another Roadside Attraction, Jitterbug Perfume, or another of his beautifully bizarre books, and enjoy this unique interview.  Happy Birthday, Tom!

Local Art @ EPL

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We are thrilled to introduce local photographer Dale Wickum as the next featured artist in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL.  His show – Following the Tracks – is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library where you can catch it through June 30th.  Documenting a trio of railroad journeys in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wickum’s exhibit explores the vanishing subculture of the “railroad tramp.”  Featuring three dozen arresting black-and-white photographs, his show captures the essence of this “reclusive and wary, overlooked and forgotten” subculture while affording “them the dignity of being remembered for who they were, the last of a breed.”  For more photos and to learn about Wickum’s oral history project, visit the Following the Tracks website, and don’t miss this interview with the artist himself.

Poetry 365

erin belieu

Poet Erin Belieu

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Erin Belieu’s savvy new volume Slant Six.  Crisp and conversational, this fourth collection from the LA Times Book Prize finalist explores “politics, pop culture, and parenthood” while reflecting on “our collective moments of hypocrisy and hope” in contemporary America.  Favorably compared to the work of Frank O’Hara and Tony Hoagland, these 23 smart, satirical poems show why the NY Times praises Belieu as “a comedian of the human spirit.”  So check out this fantastic new volume, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

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An Interview with Ed Ravine

ed ravineEdward Ravine is a practicing psychotherapist, local painter, and the next featured artist in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL.  His show – Live Life Like a River – is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library where you can catch it through May 31st.  Representing 15 years of artistic study under Leslie Hirshfield at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Ravine’s striking watercolors capture his quiet moments spent in the peace of wild places like Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon and Glencoe’s Skokie Lagoons.  We recently spoke with him via email about how the Vietnam War influenced his art, Winslow Homer, his forthcoming book, and his need for time in the wilderness.

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Local Art @ EPL

ravine - first

We are happy to introduce local painter and psychotherapist Edward Ravine as the next featured artist in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL.  His show – Live Life Like a River – is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library where you can catch it through May 31st.  Representing 15 years of artistic study under Leslie Hirshfield at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Ravine’s striking watercolors capture his quiet moments spent in the peace of wild places like Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon and Glencoe’s Skokie Lagoons.  You can meet Mr. Ravine at an opening reception this Saturday, May 9th at 3 pm, and make sure to check back with Off the Shelf later in May for a featured interview with the artist himself.  Stay tuned.

Goodbye, National Poetry Month!

Time sure flies when you’re having fun.  It’s hard to believe another National Poetry Month is already drawing to a close, but for one last hurrah, don’t miss this great mini-film adaptation of W.S. Merwin’s poem “Antique Sound.”  Enjoy, and make sure to keep coming back to Off the Shelf for Poetry 365 – a great way to scratch your poetry itch all year long.