“April is the cruelest month,” wrote poet T.S. Eliot. However, in 1996 the Academy of American Poets reclaimed April from this harsh sentiment and turned it into an opportunity to celebrate people like T.S. Eliot--poets, that is.

To finish off this year of poetry for the UW Common Book, you are invited to participate in a host of events that may just inspire you to write a little verse.

Now Showing: Poetry in Film

“A poet needs a pen, a painter a brush, and a filmmaker an army.”

--Orson Welles  

W.H. Auden likened poets to makers of “verbal objects”. Film makers attempt to bring those objects to life. As part of National Poetry Month--and in connection with the 2011 Common Book, You Are Never Where You Are--the UW Libraries is presenting a series of films with poetry connections. Join us for a selection which range from an animated tale to an all-consuming affair to an antagonistic beatnik…all of which have their roots in poetry. All films will be shown in Odegaard 220 and everyone is welcome to attend!

Poetry in Film: Howl

San Francisco, 1957. Poet Allen Ginsberg has just published “Howl” which immediately generates a great deal of controversy.  Challenges of being too explicit for publication lead to charges of obscenity. The subsequent trial tested the boundaries of freedom of expression.

Starring James Franco, Jon Hamm (Mad Men’s Don Draper), and Mary-Louise Parker

84 minutes.

4/20/11 | 4:30 p.m.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | Room 220

Learn more >

Watch the trailer >

Poetry in Film: Bright Star

Inspired by Keats's poetry and the actual love letters the pair exchanged, Bright Star details the passionate three-year romance between nineteenth century Romantic poet John Keats–who died at 25–and his great love and muse, Fanny Brawne.

Starring Abbie Cornish (now starring in Sucker Punch) and Ben Whishaw (from The International with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts)

119 minutes.

4/27/11 | 4:30 p.m.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | Room 220

Learn more >

Watch the trailer >

Poetry in Film: The Iron Giant

Hogarth Hughes just rescued an enormous robot that fell from the stars to Earth. Now young Hogarth has one very big friend and an even bigger problem: how do you keep a 50-foot-tall, steel-eating giant a secret? Based on The Iron Man by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes.

Voices include Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, and Vin Diesel

86 minutes.

5/4/11 | 4:30 p.m.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | Room 220

Learn more >

Watch the trailer >

Now Showing: Poetry Films from the Vault

Attention poetry film fans! In celebration of National Poetry month and this year's Common Book, the Media Center in Odegaard Undergraduate Library will screen 3 rare poetry films. While being projected in all their deteriorating analog glory, we will simultaneously digitize the films for preservation and access.

4/27/11 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | Room 220

Films include:

Leopold Sedar Senghor (1967 ----- b & w ----- 29 min ----- 16mm)

Introduces Leopold Sedar Senghor, his poetry and the environment that his poems reflect. Discusses his philosophy concerning the blending of the African and the Western cultural traditions. Describes Senghor as the poet laureate and President of the Republic of Senegal and presents, in English, a reading of five of his poems. Held by UW and NYPL.

Tagore (1961 ----- b & w ----- 53 min ----- 16mm)

A documentary-biography of the great Bengali poet, Rabindranth Tagore, made for the centenary of his birth by India's foremost director, Satyajit Ray. Includes news footage, sketches, photos and a dramatization of his early life. Reveals the poet, novelist, philosopher, composer, painter, rebel and educational reformer, one of the great and noble men of this century. Held by UW, UC Berkeley, University of Texas, & Library System of Lancaster County (PA).

W. B. Yeats: A Tribute (1951 ----- b & w ----- 20 min ----- 16mm)

Ireland's greatest poet--his life in Ireland and the inspiration he drew from the Irish landscape. Held by UW, San Francisco State University, Florida International University, State Library of New South Wales, & the National Film and Sound Archive (Australia).

Poetry: From Pulitzer to Performance

Philip Levine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award among other honors, and Ken Arkind, a nationally-recognized slam poet share their work and answer questions at this one-of-a-kind event with two very different artists.

Emceed by Shawn Wong, novelist and UW creative writing professor.

UW STUDENTS: Learn about and sign up for small group discussions with Philip Levine and Ken Arkind.

4/19/11 | 7 p.m.

Kane Hall | UW Seattle


Map to Kane Hall.

Sign up for the event here.

Signing up will give you priority seating should the event reach capacity.

Philip Levine "is a large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland" who, according to Edward Hirsch in the New York Times Book Review, should be considered "one of [America's] . . . quintessentially urban poets."

He was born in 1928 to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Detroit, a city that inspired much of his writing. Author of 20 collections of poetry, his most recent is News Of The World (Knopf, 2009). The Simple Truth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. What Work Is won the National Book Award in 1991. David Baker writes, “What Work Is may be one of the most important books of poetry of our time. Poem after poem confronts the terribly damaged conditions of American labor, whose circumstance has perhaps never been more wrecked." Levine is known as the poet of the working class, and he remains dedicated to writing poetry "for people for whom there is no poetry.”

As well as having received two National Book Awards, Levine is also the recipient of the National Book Critics Award and the Ruth Lily prize. He divides his time between Brooklyn, NY, and Fresno, CA.

Levine’s poem, “What Work Is,” is featured in the 2010 UW Common Book.

Ken Arkind is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion and full-time touring artist who has performed in almost all of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, Canada, and at more than 200 colleges and universities. With Panama Soweto, he is one-half of The Dyamic Duo, the nation’s most-highly-booked spoken word act.

Arkind has been featured in the documentaries “SPIT!” and “Slamplanet” as well as on HBO, CBS, NBC, and Borders.com’s Open Door Poetry series alongside former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. A regular fixture in the Denver music scene, Arkind has opened for such acts as The Flobots, Gil Scott Heron, Devotchka, Sage Francis, Ani DiFranco, Cloud Cult, P.O.S., and NPR’s Amy Goodman. The only poet signed to Hot Congress Records, Arkind’s work has been published in numerous literary anthologies and journals across the country, including The Good Things About America. His first collection of poetry, I Know Why Georgia Turner Waited by the Train Tracks, will be available summer of 2011 from Penmanship Books.

He is currently the executive director and head coach for the Denver Minor Disturbance Poetry Project, an independent literary arts organization dedicated to helping Colorado youth find their voices through poetry and performance.

Arkind’s poem, “An Experiment in Noise, in A Sharp Major,” is featured in the 2010 UW Common Book.

The Encyclopedia Show: Bears!

Learn about all sorts of bears at this live, literary variety show at which local and touring artists present new work in the form of an encyclopedia entry on the topic of bears.

4/22/11 | 7 p.m.

Kane Hall | UW Seattle


Map to Kane Hall.

Presented by Manic Mouth Congress.

Not only is it fun to be a part of, but The Encyclopedia Show builds an age-integrated community cultivating knowledge, literary and artistic skill.

It began in Chicago, invented by and still curated and hosted by Illinois-based performance poets Robbie Q. Telfer and Shanny Jean Maney. Each month they present an accomplished cast of regulars and a completely new set of contributors. All contributors are given a month to write a completely new and original response to an encyclopedia entry subtopic. The artists then present their themed work at the show. In our case, the topic is BEARS and the challenge for artists will be to take their assigned sub-topic (i.e. Kodiak Bear, the Bear Flag Revolt of 1837, St. Corbinian, Bern, etc.) and create some form of artistic work inspired from it. These sub-topic assignments usually illicit a range of styles from artists, funny to poignant to clever to heartfelt.

Co-sponsored by UW Common Book and ASUW Arts & Entertainment.

Bear photo by Picture Taker 2.


Celebrating National Poetry Month

“People like poetry like people like music: nobody doesn’t. If some think they don’t, they just haven’t listened to the right thing.”

—Richard Kenney,
UW professor and poet

Events and News > Celebrating National Poetry Month

Photo by Geoffrey Berliner