The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced last week that rapper and actor Ice-T will join the orchestra in a performance of Langston Hughes's poetry, known as the Langston Hughes Project, next month. On June 18, the Grammy winner will read Hughes's twelve-part poetry collection Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz (Random House, 1961) as the orchestra, joined by the McCurdy/Wright jazz quartet, performs original music composed by Ron McCurdy, founder of the project and chairman of the jazz department at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.
Last Friday Stanley Plumly was awarded a 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his tenth poetry collection, Old Heart (Norton), at a ceremony at Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Master of ceremonies Gay Talese presided at the annual event, during which awards were given in nine categories. Andrew O'Hagan won the award in fiction for his third novel Be Near Me (Harcourt), and Dinaw Mengestu won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books). Each winner received a thousand dollars.
Cynthia Ozick, the author of five story collections, including Dictation, published last month by Houghton Mifflin, recently received two lifetime achievement awards.