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May 1, 2013 | By Jenny Hendrix
Rider Publishing, a Random House imprint, acquired world rights to "Crossing the Border," the memoirs of former North Korean State Poet Laureate Jang Jin-sung, the Guardian reports . In 2004, unable to reconcile his privileged position with the suffering endured by most North Koreans, Jang traveled to China on a pass and from there he found sympathizers who got him to South Korea. Accounts of North Korea by insiders are rare. North Korean Kang Chol-hwan authored the prison camp memoir "The Aquariums of Pyongyang.
April 30, 2013
Ben Pleasants L.A. poet and playwright Ben Pleasants, 72, a Los Angeles poet and playwright who also championed the work of Charles Bukowski and John Fante in literary critiques, died of a heart attack April 18 in Crescent City, his wife, Paula, said. Born Aug. 6, 1940, in Weehawken, N.J., Pleasants graduated from Hofstra University on New York's Long Island in 1962 and within a few years enrolled in graduate English courses at UCLA. Beginning in the mid-1960s he wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press and regularly contributed book and theater reviews to The Times from the late 1960s until the mid-1980s.
April 21, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
When John Freeman, the editor of Granta, was setting up Sunday morning's panel discussion on “The Art of the Poetic Line,” he related an anecdote about an exchange between Billy Collins, the former U.S. poet laureate, and Richard Ford, the novelist. How come you novelists get all the credit and all the money, Collins supposedly asked Ford. “It's really hard, Billy,” Ford replied. “You've got to write all the way to end of the page, and all the way down.” Of course, the art of arranging poetic lines on a page -- complete with punctuation (or not)
April 19, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish: For Naomi Ginsberg (1894 - 1956)" is not a great poet's loudest howl. Ginsberg howled for joy throughout his life and work, the cry of bliss. He howled out of physical pleasure and spiritual pain. He howled to tune into the core sound of the universe, to become one with its core chord. "Kaddish," which was given an unusual theatrical performance at UCLA's Royce Hall on Wednesday night in a project put together by the wonderfully eclectic music producer Hal Willner, does end loud.
April 8, 2013 | By Fabiola Gutierrez and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
SANTIAGO, Chile - Chilean authorities on Monday exhumed the body of Pablo Neruda to check claims by a former chauffeur that the Nobel Prize-winning poet may have been killed by government agents shortly after the 1973 overthrow of his friend, President Salvador Allende. Under a special tent and wearing protective clothing, a team of forensic pathologists that included a U.S. toxicologist gathered in the coastal resort town of Isla Negra to oversee the exhumation. Neruda died on Sept.
April 8, 2013 | By Jenny Hendrix, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
The body of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda is being exhumed from his tomb in Chile on Monday morning in an attempt to discover whether he was poisoned by the regime of General Augusto Pinochet. A team of forensic scientists will remove Neruda from his grave in the garden of Isla Negra, the poet's beachside home on Chile's coast, where Neruda is buried next to his wife, Matilde Urrutia. The poet died suddenly on Sept. 23, 1973, at age 69, less than two weeks after the Sept.
March 21, 2013 | By Sheri Linden
"The Happy Poet," a no-budget comedy about one man's no-budget sandwich-cart venture, would have to dial up the energy several notches to qualify as deadpan. With a DIY ethos on both sides of the camera, the Austin, Texas-set feature is an ultra-low-key takeoff on the conventional find-your-bliss Hollywood arc. Funny and incisive in moments, it never fully takes off. The title character, Bill, is a nonwriting poet who has left the workaday world to hawk organic fare in the park. He's played by Paul Gordon, the film's writer-director-editor, with a flat affect and a halting monotone that speaks volumes but doesn't grow less irritating.
March 16, 2013 | By Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times
In a city that could be considered the melting pot of the world, it's only fitting that our pick for a St. Patrick's Day cocktail is Mexican. Created by mixologist Gilbert Marquez for Santa Monica's nouveau Mexican restaurant Mercado, the drink is called the Irish Poet. The spicy libation is fueled by the smoky flavor of mezcal, the heat of seeded poblano peppers, the zing of fresh lime juice and a lick of chipotle pepper-infused salt. Inspiration for the drink struck Marquez after a riotous tequila-drinking session with a loquacious Irishman in Mexico.
March 8, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Consider, if you will, the superb song - one that couples melody, rhythm and lyric to create a burst of out-of-nowhere joy and in the process rewires the brain's circuitry. It's in work we know and love, transcending space and time with a resonance unique to popular music. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon has been pondering such glory since he first discovered rock 'n' roll as a youth in Northern Ireland and has published the results of his passion in the new "The Word on the Street," his first book of rock lyrics after dozens of poetry collections.
February 28, 2013 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
Just a few months ago, Eloise Klein Healy was chosen as L.A.'s first poet laureate. Now a new anthology of Healy's work offers ample proof, if any were needed, what an inspired choice she was. "A Wild Surmise" is a vivid record of one woman's artistic and emotional quest, a journey that unfolds, for the most part, in the streets, gardens and homes of Los Angeles. The City of Angels appears again and again in the work of Healy, a native of El Paso who grew up in Iowa but who has made Los Angeles her home since the 1970s.
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