There is a time to celebrate just about everything in this country. Among the more obscure celebrations listed in my calendar are National Teacher’s Day (May 5), Adopt a Cat Month (June), Parent’s Day (July 26), and Kiss and Make Up Day (Aug. 25). I mention those because National Poetry Month may be just as obscure to some. Nonetheless, there are plenty of readings and events this April to keep word and verse lovers happy.
Of course, I haven’t forgotten the two environmental days this month: Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 24). We’ll post more on those later.
Fri., April 10, 6 p.m.
Vroman’s Bookstore celebrates National Poetry Month with a group reading, featuring Colette LaBouff Atkinson, Marcia Arrieta, Carine Topal, and Kim Triedman. In her first book, “Mean: Poems,” Atkinson writes about everyone from John Milton to her husband’s ex-wife who happens to be a stripper. Arrieta’s latest collection is “An Uncommon Accord,” and Topal has published her third volume of poetry, “In the Heaven of Never Before.” Triedman, the only poet not from the LA area (she lives in Boston), spent many years writing fiction before turning to poetry. She will read from her first collection of poetry, “bathe in it or sleep.”
Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 91101, (626) 449-5320, www.vromansbookstore.com.
Sat., April 11, 5 p.m.
Skylight Books presents a Spoken Word event headlined by Saul Williams and Douglas Kearney. Williams is a multifaceted artist — poet, musician, performance artist, and actor — who helped define Spoken Word. He wrote and starred in the movie “SLAM.” His latest album, “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!,” blends industrial, spoken word and hip-hop. In creating that album, Williams adapted poetry from his 2006 book “The Dead Emcee Scrolls” and worked closely with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
Kearney’s first full-length collection of poems, “Fear, Some,” was published in 2006 by Red Hen Press. He recently collaborated with composer Anne LeBaron on the surreal, postmodern opera “Sucktion,” which premiered at REDCAT’s New Original Works Festival in Los Angeles last year. Kearney teaches at CalArts, where he received his MFA in Writing.
Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz 90027, (323) 660-1175, www.skylightbooks.com
ALOUD at the Central Library has scheduled a series of poetry events this month, including the following:
Wed., April 22, 7 p.m.
Linda Gregerson, Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky — all selected as judges of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry prizes (administered by Claremont Graduate University and to be awarded on April 23) — will read from their own poetry.
Tues., April 28, 7 p.m.
National Public Radio commentator and surrealist poet Andrei Codrescu talks about his humorous “Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess” with “Transylvanian Yankee poet” Oana Sanziana Marian.
Wed., April 29, 7 p.m.
Continuing its celebration of new local talent, ALOUD presents Newer Poets XIV, an evening of readings by Billy Burgos, Peter Eirich, Erica Erdman, Ro Gunetilleke, Cathie Sandstrom,
and Mary Torregrossa. This event is co-presented by Beyond Baroque Literary Center and the Los Angeles Poetry Festival.
ALOUD events are free, but reservations are strongly recommended.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Sat., April 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun., April 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Numerous poets will participate in panels, sign books, and read their work at the Poetry Stage throughout Saturday (including Robert Pinsky and Carol Muske-Dukes) and Sunday (including Kim Addonizio and Jeffrey McDaniel). The Times’ 14th annual festival devoted to all things book-related is one of the largest in the nation, and brings tons of authors, booksellers, food, and entertainment to the UCLA campus.
UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles 90095, www.latimes.com/extras/festivalofbooks/