Library in the News: April 2016 Edition

April headlines covered a wide range of stories about the Library of Congress.

Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera continues to make the news, especially with the April announcement of his returning for a second term.

Herrera told Sara Catania of Reuters that poetry fans provided an “inspiration tsunami” during his first year in which he shepherded a crowd-sourced poem and addressed high-profile tragedies.

For his second term, he told Ron Charles of The Washington Post that he’s considering a “superhero story for children” that they would assist in writing online in addition to outreach to young people with special needs.

Speaking to his hometown newspaper the Fresno Bee Herrera said there was much more work to be done and that he was grateful and honored to be reappointed.

Mentalfloss offered 10 facts about the Poet Laureate position for Poetry Month in which they highlighted Herrera’s second term.

Also “returning” to the Library was the StoryCorps mobile recording booth, which has been on tour since 2005. The Library of Congress is the repository for the oral histories collected as part of the project, which launched in 2003. Kicking off the Library tour stop was WAMU’s Diane Rehm and her son David. Washingtonian covered the event.

The Library has certainly honored and hosted its fair share of notable individuals through the years. In April, the institution celebrated writer Mario Vargas Llosa and awarded him its Living Legend Award.

“Living, yes, I think I am living,” he told the crowd at the festivities on Monday night (as reported in the New York Times). “Not a legend.”

And, putting the spotlight on the Library of Congress itself was Ryan Cooper for The Week.

“It’s a place where you feel the weight of history pressing down,” he wrote. “‘Is this tweet really the best use of your time?’ it says. ‘Shouldn’t you be unraveling the mysteries of the universe, or writing the next great American novel?’ … “Under the dome of the Main Reading Room — as with the Capitol Rotunda — the demand to live up to the national ancestors is almost palpable.”

Here’s to a Couple of Ruff Characters

Four hundred years ago this weekend, two of the greatest geniuses in wordcraft this world has ever seen both died: William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. Shakespeare’s plays still dazzle, written though they are in Elizabethan English and iambic pentameter; their story lines are still fresh enough to inspire endless straight-play performance worldwide, Broadway musicals […]

Pic of the Week: An Encore for the Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. poet laureate consultant in poetry, has been appointed a second term – an appointment announced, then celebrated in the Coolidge Auditorium on Wednesday night. “What a great joy, what a great joy this is,” Herrera, the 21st laureate, told the audience. “How beautiful it is to be here. How beautiful the Library of Congress is. […]

Pic of the Week: Hedge Coke Honored as Witter Bynner Fellow

On Wednesday, poet Allison Hedge Coke was honored as the 2016 Witter Bynner Fellow. She was selected and introduced by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Juan Felipe Herrera. In his selection, Herrera said he sought to honor Hedge Coke “for her precision of Earth, of suffering in and out of […]

A Valentine for the Ages: The Biblical “Song of Songs”

(The following post is by Ann Brener, Hebraic area specialist in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division.) With its rich nature imagery and enigmatic dream-like sequences, the “Song of Songs” (also known as the “Songs of Solomon”) is surely one of the world’s great love poems and one of the most popular books in […]

New Blog Series: New Online

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) This is the first post in a new monthly series highlighting new collections, items and presentations on the Library’s website. After checking out the items mentioned here, be sure to visit some of our other blogs that highlight our […]

Library in the News: September 2015 Edition

In September, the Library of Congress had some big headlines – from the announcements of new collections to celebrating the 15th annual National Book Festival and the inaugural reading of the new poet laureate. The Library received a very special visitor and a very special book to add to its collections last month. During his […]

Their Own Words, in Their Own Voices

To read a poem is a quiet joy. To read some authors’ prose is as wonderful as reading a poem. It’s just the poet, or the writer, and you. Right there, in black and white. What could be better? How about hearing it “in color” as a poet or author reads to you from his […]

Reintroducing Poetry 180 – A Poem a Day for High School Students

The following post, written by Peter Armenti, was originally published on the blog From the Catbird Seat: Poetry & Literature at the Library of Congress. In 2001, the then U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins launched the online poetry project Poetry 180 as a way to introduce American high school students to contemporary poetry. Poetry 180 quickly […]

A Founder and a Firebrand

The nation and the world are mourning the passing of civil-rights activist Julian Bond, who died on Saturday in Florida at age 75. Brought up in an intellectual family, he was a skinny, witty, articulate young man when he helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, in 1960, traveling around the south to […]