Ages 18+.

Jane Kenyon- 1947-1995

Today, May 23, is the birthday of Jane Kenyon. She was born in Ann Arbor in 1947 and attended the University of Michigan. Her first book, Let Evening Come was published in 1990. Kenyon's poetry is known for its quiet yet profound reflections and in her years with her husband, Donald Hall, on her life with him at their farmhouse in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Her final poems describe her struggle with depression and the leukemia which finally took her life in 1995. Shortly before her death, she and Hall were interviewed by Bill Moyers for a television documentary, A Life Together. Following is a poem that pays tribute to her dog, Biscuit:

Peter Viereck, Pulitzer Prize poet, has died

Peter Viereck

It's been a hard for month for poets. Last week, America lost two noted Pulitzer Prize winners -- Stanley Kunitz died at age 100 on May 14, 2006, and now Peter Viereck has passed away at 89.

Viereck was as passionate about his idea of conservatism as he was about poetry. He won the 1949 Pulitzer for his very first collection of poetry, Terror and Decorum.

As we are seeing by today's headlines, Professor Viereck's strong beliefs that "...conservative is not to be satanic..." could be part of the national dialog.

Professor Viereck died May 20, 2006.

Deconstructing the 'Mommy Myth'

If you are interested in feminism, motherhood and the ways that the popular media are portraying and shaping the image of mothers be sure to watch Susan J. Douglas speak on her book The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women on Ann Arbor's Community Television Cable Channel 17. Douglas, Professor of Communications at the University of Michigan, examines how the mass media have promoted a conception of motherhood which result in unrealistic demands on women. Based on extensive scholarly research, the book is an accessible (and occasionally humorous) look at popular magazines, radio and television and their portrayals of the 'ideal' mother. The program, part of the Library's Sunday Edition author lecture series can be viewed on Tuesday, May 23 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m.; and Friday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. Video recordings of the program are also available to be borrowed from the library in both VHS and DVD format.

Anniversary of a famous crime

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, bank robbers accused of twelve murders, were gunned down by a law enforcement posse in Gibsland, LA.. Romanticized by the film, Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the real life criminals grew up in poverty striken families in rural Texas. When the Depression came, they hit the road, devoted to each other and knowing their ultimate demise was death. Cult heroes like Robin Hood or Jesse James, they embodied a fantasy of freedom for the downtrodden.

Stanley Kunitz, Poet Laureate in 2000, dies

Stanley Kunitz, Poet Laureate in 2000, dies

Stanley Kunitz, the United States Poet Laureate in 2000, died in his home in Manhattan on May 14, 2006.

Mr. Kunitz, who graduated from Harvard in 1926 with a BA and in 1927 with an MA, enjoyed a prolific career that spanned more than eight decades. His brilliance was recognized with one prestigious award after another. He won a Guggenheim in 1945-46; the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1959 for Selected Poems, 1928-1958; the National Book Award in 1995 for Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected; the National Medal of the Arts at age 88 in 1993; and the highly coveted Bollingen Prize in poetry in 1987.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #22

I frankly cannot remember the last time a debut thriller generated such buzz. Library Journal, Booklist, as well as Publishers Weekly all gave John Hart’s The King of Lies starred reviews.

Critics are calling it ”stunning…, an exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller”; “The writing is beautiful and the story is gripping, but it is the character study… that puts this debut novel on the must-read list.”

At the center of the mystery is Work(man) Pickens, a struggling North Carolina attorney with some serious baggage – one of them is being accused of his father’s murder. You won’t want to miss this one.

Read about Geeks Behind Video Games

For those who didn't make it to the Electronic Entertainment Expo here's a book that might provide some perspective on the videogame industry: Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution, by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby. From the jacket: "Meet the geeks, geniuses, and mavericks behind this burgeoning culture." The book is showing available, shelved with new non-fiction books on the second floor of the Downtown Library.

Fred Eaglesmith at the Ark!

Fred Eaglesmith

For all you country-folk fans, here's a concert that you won't want to miss... Fred Eaglesmith will perform Thursday night (5/18), 8pm at The Ark. So log on to Ticketmaster and get your tickets will-call; then call your emergency babysitter and plan to leave work early on Thursday so you can catch dinner on Main Street and even stop by the AADL and pick up his CD.

If you love Eaglesmith, you'll also enjoy these artists:

Quirkiness abounds when Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon join forces

Acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke is well known for his masterful fingerpicking on traditional and folk tunes, such as Bach's "Bourree" or his own hauntingly beautiful "Crow River Waltz." But his fans also know him for his quirky original music and odd sense of humor, as demonstrated in his in experimental album That's What (1990). It seems strangely appropriate, then, that Kottke should team up with Phish bass player Mike Gordon on his latest album, Sixty Six Steps.

Sixty Six Steps follows on Kottke and Gordon's well-received first collaboration, Clone (2002). Like Clone, Sixty Six Steps features amazing fingerwork, clever lyrics, and a catchy sound, resulting in an album strangely familiar to fans of both artists while still breaking new ground. Listeners may notice a bit more of a tropical flair in the new album, however, as Kottke and Gordon experiment with island music. The album may seem familiar for other reasons, too: it features a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" and a very deadpan rendition of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion."

First Impressions

"For the rest of her life, Charlotte Cleve would blame herself for her son's death because she had decided to have Mother's Day dinner at six in the evening instead of noon, after church, which is when the Cleves usually had it."
So begins The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. Librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl considers this a great first line, a first line that compels the reader forward into the thick of the Cleve family's tragedy. Other compelling first lines: Christopher Morley's Parnassus on Wheels, Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys, and even a slightly morbid nonfiction work, Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. But there must be others...

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