Our fair city now has an official civic poet. Her name is Claudia Castro Luna. Has anyone else never heard of her?
Our fair city now has an official civic poet. Her name is Claudia Castro Luna. Has anyone ever heard of her? Seattle / Shutterstock

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• The Office of Arts & Culture presents to you Seattle's first civic poet: Claudia Castro Luna. I'd never heard of her, so I did a little looking around, and found this video of her reading before a city council meeting back in February of 2013. She's good! Check her out. As Seattle's civic poet, Luna will have two years and $10,000 to perform at a few public events and teach a handful of classes/workshops throughout the city.

• Yesterday was James Baldwin's birthday. Was there ever a classier, smarter, more charming, and more intense dude? In honor of his anniversary and for the sake of your own pleasure/pain you should read his letter to the activist Angela Davis, watch him destroy a young William F. Buckley in this debate at Cambridge in 1965 (the question: "Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?"), and read The Fire Next Time. If you want to liken Ta-Nehisi Coates to Baldwin, as Toni Morrison has done, then go right ahead. If you want to see Ta-Nehisi Coates in Seattle, here's the date he's coming.

• James Baldwin was a New Yorker, but Anne Carson is in The New Yorker! (Sorry, sorry, I'll show myself to the window.) This newly published poem of Carson's throws shade all over the place, reminding us that there is more than one kind of shade. Thanks to this poem, my new favorite kind of shade to throw is "shade under ships" because it is the most fun to say. I think I've said this before, but Paul Muldoon is killing it as The New Yorker's poetry editor. I'm still thinking about that Ocean Vuong poem from May.

Did You Know The Fire Next Time Was Originally Published in The New Yorker? Half of it, anyway, under the header "Letter from a Region in My Mind."

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• The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship nominations have been announced. What is that very long and awkwardly named prize all about? I'll tell you. It's an annual prize that the prestigious Poetry Foundation gives out each year to a poet under 31 years of age, and it's one of the only unofficial student loan repayment plans for which poets are eligible. Prize money has allegedly been used to help poets carry children to term, afford a few months of rent in Bushwick, and start small presses across the country. Several of the poets nominated for the prize this year have spoken-word backgrounds, including Sam Sax, Franny Choi, and Jamila Woods. This fact provides more evidence that the Poetry Foundation is actively trying to champion poets who trained up in slams and not just in academic workshops.

• University of Akron Press was forced to close down. The University of Akron was running a $60,000 deficit and so axed 213 positions, which included the entire staff of the University of Akron Press, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The press had a particularly good poetry catalogue. A couple of books from Bellingham's Oliver de la Paz are on there, as is Brittany Cavallero's Girl-King, and Jason Bredle's Carnival. Meanwhile, instead of allocating funds to vital academic institutions, the university is spending almost a million dollars to renovate the university president's house. And, surprise! They've just recently built a shiny new football stadium for a team that has the lowest turnout in the nation. There's a Facebook group to save the press, and also a change.org petition here.

• Speaking of sad closures, [PANK] magazine is calling it quits, too. Roxanne Gay and M. Bartley Seigel ran the magazine for about ten years.

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