News and Current Events
(2/21/2012 4:19:00 AM)
Today is International Mother Language Day. This day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
International Mother Language Day originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of students including the students of the University of Dhaka were killed by the Pakistani police in Dhaka during Bengali Language Movement protests.
It is estimated that nearly half of the approximately 6,000 languages spoken in the world could die out by the end of the century, with 96 percent of these languages spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population.
UNESCO sets the theme for each International Mother Language Day and holds related events at its headquarters in Paris on or around 21 February each year.
A poem for Mother Language Day Our Mother Tongue by Jose Rizal
If truly a people dearly love
The tongue to them by Heaven sent,
They'll surely yearn for liberty
Like a bird above in the firmament.
More about International Mother Language Day on UNESCO website
(2/20/2012 5:07:00 AM)
Today is the World Day of Social Justice.
This is a day recognizing the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment. The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe 20 February annually, starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice.
As recognized by the World Summit, social development aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries and social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all societies. To achieve “a society for all” governments made a commitment to the creation of a framework for action to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels. They also pledged to promote the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality and opportunity for all. The governments recognized as well that economic growth should promote equity and social justice and that “a society for all” must be based on social justice and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Here is a poem for this day: The Lovers of the Poor by Gwendolyn Brooks
arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies' Betterment League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
(2/15/2012 1:41:00 AM)
Today is the birtday of Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)
He was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the father of modern observational astronomy, the father of modern physics, the father of science, and the Father of Modern Science.
Galileo was an astronomer and mathematician, but his discoveries also affected creative realms during the Renaissance. His astronomical discoveries challenged philosophy; his mathematics gave realistic perspective to artists. These innovations challenged the literary community to seek improvement as well.
Galileo in artistic and popular media
Galileo is mentioned several times in the opera section of the Queen song, Bohemian Rhapsody. He features prominently in the song Galileo performed by the Indigo Girls.
Twentieth-century plays have been written on Galileo's life, including Life of Galileo (1943) by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, with a film adaptation (1975) of it, and Lamp At Midnight (1947) by Barrie Stavis, as well as the 2008 play Galileo Galilei.
Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a science fiction novel entitled Galileo's Dream (2009) , in which Galileo is brought into the future to help resolve a crisis of scientific philosophy; the story moves back and forth between Galileo's own time and a hypothetical distant future.
A poem for the astronomer: When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
Happy Birthday Galileo Galilei!
(2/2/2012 1:44:00 AM)
Today is World Wetlands Day
On February 2,1971, countries around the world came together and signed the Convention on Wetlands (an Intergovernmental Treaty) - the first ecologically focused convention – Ramsar, Iran. Since then,160 countries have signed the Treaty and 1,911 wetland sites have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
To learn more about what people all over the world are doing to celebrate World Wetlands Day, log on to www.ramsar.org.
And here is a poem for this day:
Homer's Hymn To The Earth: Mother Of All by Percy Bysshe Shelley
O universal Mother, who dost keep
From everlasting thy foundations deep,
Eldest of things, Great Earth, I sing of thee!
(1/27/2012 6:33:00 AM)
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
27 January, is an international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust, the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of 6 million European Jews,2 million Gypsies (Roma and Sinti) ,15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime.
27 January is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by Soviet troops.
A poem for this day:
After Auschwitz by Anne Sexton
(12/28/2011 4:16:00 AM)
Seamus Heaney donated his personal archive to National Library of Ireland
Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney has donated a collection of his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland.
The world famous poet's collection, worth tens of thousands of pounds and regarded as a treasure trove by scholars, was handed over at a reception in Dublin on Wednesday.
The fascinating literary archive, regarded as the working papers of one of Ireland's greatest living writers, has been welcomed as an extraordinary addition to the National Library's treasures.
Continues on: http: //www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-16275858
More about Seamus Heaney and his poems on Poemhunter: http: //www.poemhunter.com/seamus-heaney-3/
(12/21/2011 7:22:00 AM)
Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician Václav Havel died this Sunday, on 18 December 2011.
He was a A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he was the tenth and last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003) . He wrote over 20 plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.
Havel was a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, that proposed the establishment of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. He also received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the freedom medal of the Four Freedoms Award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award and several other distinctions.
Havel was voted 4th in Prospect magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals.
At the time of his death he was Chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. Equally, he was the founder of VIZE97 foundation, and the Forum 2000 annual global conference.
Beginning in the 1960s, his work turned to focus on the politics of Czechoslovakia. After the Prague Spring, he became increasingly active. In 1977, he co-authored the Human Rights charter called Charter 77, which brought him an international recognition as the leader of opposition in Czechoslovakia. Consequently, this led to his persecution by the communist regime, and repeated imprisonment.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution launched Havel into the presidency. In this role, he led Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic to multiparty democracy. His thirteen years in office saw radical change in his nation, including its split with Slovakia, which Havel opposed, its accession into NATO and start of the negotiations for membership in the European Union, which was attained in 2004.
Quotations from Václav Havel on Poemhunter
http: //www.poemhunter.com/quotations/famous.asp? people=V%E1clav%20Havel
(12/16/2011 8:13:00 AM)
2012 USA Poet Stamps
The United States Post Office is honoring ten poets with their very own postage stamps. They're to be dedicated March 3 at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago.
Art director and stamp designer Derry Noyes selected the photographs used in the stamp art. These stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps. The lineup: Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.
(12/9/2011 3:41:00 AM)
Chilean poet Nicanor Parra was awarded Spain's Cervantes Prize. The award is given by the Spanish Ministry for Culture and is recognised as the most important literary prize for poetry in the Spanish language.
Nicanor Parra is a mathematician and poet, who has been considered to be a popular poet in Chile with enormous influence and popularity in Latin America, and also considered one of the most important poets of the Spanish language literature. He describes himself as an 'anti-poet, ' due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function—after recitations he would exclaim Me retracto de todo lo dicho, or, 'I take back everything I said'.
More information about Parra and his poems on
(12/8/2011 3:08:00 AM)
Pablo Neruda's body could be exhumed
The Communist Party in Chile has asked for the remains of the poet Pablo Neruda to be exhumed due to allegations that he may have been poisoned.
The court is probing more than 725 deaths caused by alleged abuses during General Pinochet’s dictatorship between 1972 and 1990.
The poet, who had won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature, died in the same hospital in Sandiego where former President Eduardo Frei died in 1982 while recovering from a hernia operation.
Manuel Araya, who was Neruda's chauffeur, has told reporters in recent months that he and Neruda's widow received a phone call from the poet on the day of his death from a hospital where he was being treated for late-stage prostate cancer.
Araya reported that Neruda said to 'come quickly, because while I was asleep a doctor entered and gave me a shot.'
The 69-year-old poet died that day, Sept.23,1973, in the Santa Maria Clinic.
The Pablo Neruda Foundation, which guards the poet's legacy, said in a statement in May that there is 'no proof whatsoever that suggests Pablo Neruda died of causes other than cancer'.
Although the late Pablo Neruda was best known for his poetry, he was a lifelong member of Chile's Communist Party, a lawmaker and a former ambassador to France.
Read the rest of the article on BBC Latin America News