Puget Sound English Department

April 6, 2011

There are months, and then there are months

If April is, as Eliot famously notes, “the cruelest month,” it is also, perhaps in compensation for nature’s vagaries, National Poetry month. Today, local NPR affiliate KUOW featured conversation about poetry with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and local poet Elizabeth Austen. It’s well worth a listen, especially their discussion of ambiguity as the thing that frustrates novice readers but provides the richness and complexity that characterize mature poetry and reward careful scrutiny; Austen pointed out that excessive emotional “clarity” is the hallmark not of poetry, but of sentimentalism.

In other poetic news, local poet and teacher Josie Emmons Turner will be inaugurated as Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate in a free public ceremony and reading on April 28, 2011, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Bellaballs, 747 S. Fawcett St., Tacoma.

Emmons Turner’s two-year term follows those of William Kupinse, Antonio Edwards Jr., and Tammy Robacker. More information on the Poet Laureate program can be found at TacomaCulture.

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