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W.M. Keck Center for Language Study


International Poetry Day: come and read poems from any language or culture!

By Achille Zambon on March 30, 2016

InstapoetsNowadays, poetry seems to be looking for its place in mainstream culture. You see billboard poems like the ones of Robert MontgomeryInstapoets like R.M. Drake – who became famous (a retweeted-by-the-Kardashians kind of famous) and sold hundreds of thousands of books by combining lomo aesthetics, fancy typography, and relatable rhymes; you even see self-proclaimed “last poets on Earth” selling printed mugs and t-shirts quoting their own verses.

But what is the meaning of real poetry today? How do Shakespeare, Dante, Baudelaire, Bashō matter in our everyday lives? Is their art only for a few, or can anyone find something relatable about it?

In an attempt to answer this question, the Keck Center, in collaboration with the Office of International Student Services, will be hosting a casual “open mic” evening of poetry on Wednesday, April 6th at 4:30pm, in the terrace lounge of Lawrence Hall. The event is suitably titled International Poetry Day, as it will feature poems from Indonesia to Italy, from South Korea to Germany, from a variety of historical periods. Readers will comment briefly on the verses, explaining why they matter to them personally and in their cultural context.

If you want to read something from your favorite poet, in your own native language or one that you are studying – or even if you want to read your own poem! – please get in touch with any of the language interns. We will need the original text, as well as an English translation to display on the lounge TVs for the people who do not speak the language.

A dinner of Indian, Chinese and Brazilian food will be served. Don’t miss it!

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
Rita Dove

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