Brooklyn Public Library


Perfectly Poetic

Apr 9, 2009 10:50 AM | 0 comments

Celebrate National Poetry Month by going to a Poets Coffeehouse event at the Dweck Center. On April 15, Ron Padgett and Alice Notley read, and I took the opportunity to ask them about their writing lives.  

Ron Padgett moved to New York from Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1960, and his first collection of poems, Bean Spasms, written with Ted Berrigan, was published in 1967. Since then he has published several books of poetry, including How to Be Perfect (Coffee House Press, 2007). 

Q: What do you find is the biggest challenge in being a poet; the biggest reward?
A: Biggest challenge: Trying to write better and better poems. Biggest reward: The momentary illusion that I actually am writing better and better poems.

Q: What role can poetry have now that it seems difficult to keep people reading it?
A: I'm not so sure that it is difficult to keep people reading poetry. In fact there seem to be more and more people reading (and writing) it. Hundreds of poetry books are published every year, and poetry is all over the internet and on NPR.

Q: Was having a community of poets and writers important in your development as a poet?
A: Yes, having poet friends was especially important when I was young. At the time, I didn't know how important it was. But in a larger sense, a "community" should include poets living and dead, and for me that community has remained absolutely essential.

Q: Who are some of your favorite poets?
A: I will limit my answer only to poets who are not alive. If I list live ones, the ones I forget to list will bang on my head. Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, Dante, Apollinaire, Homer, Frank O'Hara,
Lorca, William Carlos Williams, Keats, Tu Fu, Emily Dickinson, Robert Herrick, Basho, and Wallace Stevens, to name just a few… 

On Monday, April 13, come back to see what Alice Notley has to say. And learn more about poetry by checking out books from BPL.

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Haiku Bike-u

Apr 7, 2009 10:30 AM | 2 comments

April is poetry month, so I’ve decided to kick it off with a haiku about my perennial spring dilemma.


Should I buy a bike?

Fare increase be damned I say!

Until the rain falls


We’ll be sharing some original haikus all month long, but we want to read yours too! Share a haiku about Brooklyn in the comments section. Or let us know if you have a favorite
poetry blog.

In the meantime, check with your neighborhood library for poetry slams, workshops and more poetry month stuff.




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Book a Better Season

Apr 3, 2009 2:22 PM | 0 comments

There are lots of upcoming rainy days. My recommendation: don’t go out! Stay home and save money! During summer, you can go crazy with all that money you saved. For now, there are plenty of new books for adults at your library to keep you from getting all washed up:


A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century

by Jane Vandenburgh

This memoir recalls the author’s lonely and troubled childhood after her mother was committed, and her sexual awakening as a teenager.



by Toni Jordan

In this novel, Grace’s love of numbers defines her world, yet limits it. Upon finding romance, she gets treatment for this obsessive behavior, but finds that her very being erodes.


The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village

by Thomas Robisheaux

This is the true account of a small-town German woman convicted of witchcraft in 1672, and the various ministers, lawyers and physicians that played a part in her indictment.


The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

by George Friedman

Friedman explains his position on the ultimate collapse of Russia, provides thoughtful rationale for Japan, Turkey, and Poland to emerge as great powers, and shares his theories on a confrontation between the U.S. and Mexico.


Wonderful World

by Javier Calvo

In the author’s first novel in English, a Barcelona antiques dealer is imprisoned for shady dealings, and his son places himself in a seedy underworld to discover who was responsible for his father’s ruin.

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Bushwick Library Is Singing the Moos

Apr 1, 2009 10:24 AM | 1 comment

We all know the economy stinks, and your library is feeling the pinch just like everybody else. But one neighborhood library has found a way to raise a little extra cash and have some fun at the same time. 


Last week Bushwick Library purchased four Brown Swiss dairy cows, whose milk will be bottled and sold right on the library’s
front steps.


“It makes perfect sense for us,” said librarian Nate Hill. “Two hundred years ago, this whole area was farmland. We’re just going back to our roots.”


The 100% organic milk, bottled under the name Library Leche, is already available at neighborhood greengrocers and farmers’ markets throughout the city.


And it’s bringing the community together.


“We had an elementary school class in here yesterday,” said Nate. “I thought they’d be scared—these cows are huge—but they took to it immediately. They milked 16 gallons in an hour. We’re definitely going to invite them back.”


Bushwick, meanwhile, isn’t the only library with an economic recovery plan. Before the summer’s over, Sunset Park will have converted its backyard garden into a working earthworm farm, and Flatlands is considering a rooftop carrier pigeon business.


Got any innovative ideas for how your library can make some extra cash? Let us know ... for next April Fool’s Day.



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