Ages 18+.

Does hip hop matter?

Confession: When I was about sixteen, I was talking on the phone with someone who was older, "wiser", and definitely more hip than myself. When he asked me if I had a "The Source." I naively responded, quite enthusiastically, that I did. Too bad I thought he said thesaurus and that I had no idea that he was, in fact, talking about a hip hop magazine.

Had Hip Hop Matters been around then and had I browsed it, I would have saved myself the humiliation.

Hip Hop Matters seeks to answer the question of why hip hop matters. The author, S. Craig Watkins is not afraid to delve into the many issues that surround this art form. He explores and complicates the notions of profit versus politics, responsibility, authenticity, identity, economics, bombast, style, credibility, ownership, misogyny, fidelity and much more. This is a far-reaching study about the implications of hip hop with respect to popular culture, politics and beyond.

Poet Pattieann Rogers wins the 2005 Lannan Literary Award for Poetry

Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers, one of America's best modern poets, was awarded the prestigious Lannan Literary Award for Poetry for 2005. The Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships were established in 1989 "to honor both established and emerging writers whose work is of exceptional quality."

In awarding Rogers the $125,00 purse, the Lannan Foundation said of her writing: "Roger's wise and complex poems read like a series of witty but deeply felt explorations of the phusical world and the presence of the divine." Among her twelve volumes of poetry are: Generations (2004), Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 (c2001), and The Expectations of Light (c1981).

Margaret Hodges, prolific children's author, dies at 94

Margaret Hodges, author of dozens of books for children, died December 20, at the age of 94. In addition to her popular retelling of well-loved legends, Hodges also wrote many biographies for children.

Ms. Hodges, a former children's librarian, received numerous prestigious literary awards, including the Caldecott Medal for Saint George and the Dragon: A Golden Legend (adapted from Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene), illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, (1984).

Patricia Van Tighem, 1958-2005

Canadian Patricia Van Tighem, whose harrowing account of her savage mauling by a grizzly in 1983 is recounted in her memoir The Bear's Embrace: A Story of Survival, has died.

Van Tighem and her husband Trevor Janz were hiking near Montana in the Canadian Rockies when a brown grizzly appeared out of nowhere and attacked her husband. In horror, Van Tighem sought refuge in a nearby tree but the bear climbed after her and destroyed her face.

Van Tighem's life since then had been a nightmare of endless surgeries, relentless pain, and severe bouts of post-traumatic stress syndrome. When she wrote The Bear's Embrace in 2001, her family hoped it would trigger a full emotional recovery.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts

You know that feeling --- you found that perfect pair of pink-satin kitten heels on the sale rack and it is YOUR size. Oh that thrill of discovery, you just have to call your girlfriends. It is that way for me when I come across a first novel or a new author that is a cut above. In the next months, I will be sharing some of my finds with you.

Koula by the three-time Greek national book award winner Menes Koumantareas is the first of his works to be translated (nicely done by Kay Cicellis) into English.

Originally published in 1978, this timeless novella is set in Athens. The plot is fairly clichéd – an affair between young handsome Dimitri and the middle-aged Koula. What distinguishes this 88-page little gem is the “spare, immaculate prose… and the ending that is logical, appropriate, and poignant without being cheaply bittersweet”. A perfect short read. Starred review in Booklist.

The Play Ground

American works for Balinese gamelan orchestra

Often lauded as the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement in Indonesia, Javanese shadow puppet theater is one of the world’s great classical theatrical forms. The mythological stories feature ancient kings, humorous antics of clowns, fierce battles and deep philosophical questions. This concert stars puppeteer Sigit Adji Sabdoprijono and Javanese dancer Yulisa Mastati, artists-in-residence at the Residential College. Susan Pratt Walton directs the gamelan, which is part of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.
Rackham Auditorium, January 14, 2006 at 8pm, No tickets required

'Tis the season to read about mythology

Today the Diane Rehm show on NPR spotlighted author Kenneth C. Davis and his book, Don't know much about mythology: Everything you need to know about the greatest stories in human history but never learned. Their on-air discussion touched on everything from Jewish myths to the Saturnalia, from the winter solstice to early Christianity. It was all fascinating. Currently all copies of this book are checked out, but readers drawn to myths will want to get on the waiting list.

New Poetry Collection

A new collection will be welcomed by fans of Jane Kenyon. Collected Poems is a compilation of all of her work including the poems in her celebrated book, Otherwise which was published in 1996, less than a year after her death from leukemia. Kenyon is especially well known and loved in Ann Arbor because of her marriage to Donald Hall, former professor at the University of Michigan and an honored poet himself. Kenyon found refuge from her disabling depression in the simple beauties and comforts of the rural landscape of New Hampshire. She was highly influenced by Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova, some of whose work she translated. Several of those translations are included here. Kenyon's poetry expresses the soul's longing like no other.

Comedy or tragedy?

In The Apartment (1960) Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star as C.C. Baxter, an upwardly mobile insurance clerk and Fran Kubelik, the whimsical elevator girl in Baxter’s office building. Little does Baxter know that Miss Kubelik is having an affair with his boss—in Baxter’s apartment! One of Billy Wilder’s more emotionally complex comedies, The Apartment was nominated for ten Oscars in 1961 and won five of them.

Literarian, n. 1. One who makes great contributions to the world of literature. 2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

In November the National Book Foundation awarded its first-ever Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-). Ferlinghetti is a poet, publisher, painter, tireless advocate for poetry and free speech, San Francisco poet laureate and proprietor of the renowned independent bookstore City Lights. Several of his books of poetry are available in the library, as well as a documentary of 1987 interviews with Ferlinghetti and other Beat writers, thinkers, and artists. Three cheers for the man who stood up for Howl and blessed the world with the first all-paperback bookstore.

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