Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 3:08 pm
Tuesday marks the close of National Poetry Month, a 30-day celebration of all things versified and all people versifying. And in tangentially related news, for more than eight months, a book of cat-themed poetry — I Could Pee On This — has perched on the NPR best-seller lists. There it sits, insouciantly swishing its tail amid self-help books and memoirs, the poetry world's sole representative on the list.
Willa Cather is one of America's greatest literary voices. Most notably, her stories of immigrant farmers in Nebraska are intimate windows into the lives that make up a greater history of American settlement and struggle.
Cather was also a pioneering female writer in a literary world run by men, and a driven businesswoman — meticulous about every detail of her work, down to the very design of a book jacket. And when she died in 1947, she left a will forbidding the adaptation of her works to theater or film and the publication of her personal letters.
Author Benjamin Alire Saenz writes about life on the U.S.-Mexico border. Here he holds his latest book, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, in front of "$26," a painting by Francisco Delgado (the presidents in the painting appear on American bills worth a collective $26).
Credit Monica Ortiz Uribe
For almost a century, the Kentucky Club, just three blocks from the international bridge, has been a nightlife destination for residents of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
On a Saturday night, the bridge that links downtown El Paso, Texas, to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico is hauntingly still. Once, this was a border crossing flush with life; now, after years of brutal drug violence, it's like a graveyard. It's certainly not the border that American author Benjamin Alire Saenz recalls from his high school days.
"We'd all pile in a couple of cars. There'd be like 10 of us and we'd come over to Juarez," Saenz remembers. "We'd go to all these places like The Cave, the Club Hawaii ... the Kentucky Club ... and we would just have a good time and laugh."
It all started one night when writer Amanda Filipacchi was browsing through Wikipedia and noticed an absence of women under the category "American novelists." At first, she thought the female writers being moved off the page were not important enough to be on it. But then she discovered some obscure male novelists were still listed, while some well-known women were not.
In the aftermath of last year's Newtown, Conn., school shootings, the Entertainment Software Association, which serves computer and video game publishers, issued a statement saying that years of research has shown no connection between entertainment and real-world violence.
But there's still a connection between video game makers and real-world gun makers.