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Walt Whitman's Meteors Real After All, Amazon to Reboot the Kindle, and More

Daily News

Online Only, posted 6.04.10

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

Despite ongoing violence in Kingston, the tenth annual Calabash Literary Festival, Jamaica's first and largest event of its kind, concluded as a smashing success on Sunday. (Daily Beast

An image of a meteor shower in Walt Whitman's poem "Year of Meteors" had long been thought to be a product of the poet's imagination, but now "astronomers and literature researchers at Texas State University have connected the poem to a rare celestial event, known as an Earth-grazing meteor procession, which was widely reported across America in July 1860 but later forgotten." (Independent)

Amazon is preparing a new version of the Kindle "believed to be slimmer with a more responsive screen and sharper picture." (Times)

Thousands of rare books and manuscripts on faith and science—"including hand-written notes from Sir Isaac Newton"—will soon be made available online through the Cambridge University Library. "Our library contains evidence of some of the greatest ideas and discoveries over two millennia," said the university's librarian. "We want to make it accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a thirst for knowledge." (Telegraph)

The recent death of Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky has caused some folks to recall a time when poets in Russia were more like rock stars, reciting their verse "in sports stadiums to overflow crowds." (New York Times)

Michael Horowitz, a candidate for the Oxford professor of poetry post, received a boost yesterday when rock star Damon Albarn, frontman of two major bands, Blur and Gorillaz, publicly endorsed the poet's bid. Albarn used the poet's verse on the Gorillaz latest album, Plastic Beach. (Sun)

A collection of first-edition books heralded as "the greatest of its kind" is estimated to sell for as much as twenty million dollars at Sotheby's in London this fall. (Independent

In honor of the late actor and director Dennis Hopper, who died last Saturday, Open Culture has posted a moving video of the Easy Rider star reading Rudyard Kipling's "If" on the Johnny Cash Show in 1970. 

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by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

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