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Poetry news from the month of April. Just what the doctor ordered.

A Month of Poetry

April was National Poetry Month in the USA, a celebration that was established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and which continues to grow.

There were readings, slams and competitions galore, accompanied by the predictable hand-wringing over whether poetry should be read for twelve months of the years rather than just one.

A highlight this year was the Dear Poet project, in which members of the public were encouraged to pen handwritten letters to poets in response to reading their poems.

April 18 marked Poem in Your Pocket Day, when people were encouraged to carry a poem (yes, you guessed it, in their pocket) and share it with others throughout the day. People shared their poem on Twitter using #pocketpoem.

Poem in Your Pocket Day [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © asterix611]

Poem in Your Pocket Day
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © asterix611]

Boston Bombers

Amidst all the poetry celebrations the big story in America was of course the horror of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Among other things the events of April 15 prompted the musician Amanda Palmer to write a poem from the perspective of one of the suspects.

A Poem for Dzhokhar caused shockwaves on Twitter and the web and countless newspaper and magazines wrote editorials poring over the rights and wrongs of Palmer’s approach.

Amanda Palmer in Concert [Source Flickr Creative Commons © DoriDoreau]

Amanda Palmer in Concert
[Source Flickr Creative Commons © DoriDoreau]

There’s an App for That

Poetry, you say? There’s an app for that! Penguin Classics has teamed up with app developer inkle to create an iPhone/iPad app called Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics. It prompts you to fill in missing words in poems and to recite poems back by heart.

Clampdown in Turkey

A Turkish pianist has been convicted for insulting Islam and offending Muslims in his Twitter posts. Fazil Say quoted the eleventh century poet Omar Khayyam, who poked fun at an Islamic version of the afterlife.

Say’s conviction is the latest in a series of trials in Turkey against writers, intellectuals and journalists.

From Franco’s Clutches

The poem ‘Poet in New York,’ left as a manuscript on his editor’s desk by Spain’s famous poet Federico García Lorca the day before he traveled to Granada and was later murdered by one of Franco’s death squads, has gone on public display for the first time in a major exhibition of García Lorca’s work at New York’s Public Library.

García Lorca was one of the ‘Generation of ’27,’ an avant-garde artists’ collective that also included Salvador Dalí. His body has never been found.

A Federico García Lorca Poem in La Coruña, Galicia [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © ebifry]

A Federico García Lorca Poem in La Coruña, Galicia
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © ebifry]

Poems at Auction

April was another bumper month for landmark poetry auctions:

Awards

Book Releases

And finally, I’ve picked out a couple of interesting-looking poetry book releases from April.