While much of it may not be widely reported by the “mainstream press”, there’s always something exciting, interesting or just plain strange happening in the world of literature and publishing. Here are just a few recent items of note:
— Spoken word sensation and social activist Saul Williams kicked off his North American tour last week and is scheduled to make at least two dozen appearances in various venues throughout the US and Canada. One show sure to make waves is his November 18th appearance at the 930 Club in DC with hip-hop MC Talib Kweli. Williams’ new album is now available and tour dates and further information can be found at saulwilliams.com.
— New Line Cinemas announced on Monday that Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood (“The Pianist”) was hired to begin the adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez epic Love in the Time of Cholera. There is no word on when the film is expected to be in theatres or on who might be cast to play the lovelorn protagonist Florentino Ariza.
— At North Carolina Central University, administrators have decided to withdraw the $7,000 annual budget for Ex Umbra, the student produced annual literary journal. The journal was first published in 1965 and was created to highlight the writings of students at the historically black college. The current submissions and planned issue now remain unpublished and this move seems to be another step in the wrong direction for the promotion of school-supported literature and arts funding in universities and beyond. It is unknown at this point if private funding or donations will come through to keep this journal on its feet.
— Beat icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lou Reed, poet Li-Young Lee along with other writers, slam poets and notables have come together to create a unique blend of their talents in reVerse. A mix of genres, styles and messages, the collection of poems, songs and poem-songs includes 14 artists from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. We heartily support such collaborations that dare to blur the lines of music, poetry and activism. Stay tuned for an upcoming review of this compilation, available in stores on November 15th.
— And last but not least … Billy Corgan, former front man of The Smashing Pumpkins, is now a best-selling poet. His new collection of poetry, Blinking With Fists, is currently at number 32 on the New York Times Best Seller list (hardcover fiction). Corgan just finished a 14-city book signing tour to promote the book. Meanwhile, another rocker is riding high on the best-seller list. Motley Crue bad boy Tommy Lee’s new autobiography Tommyland took the number 16 spot on the Times’ Hardcover Non-fiction list. From anecdotes about his marriages to Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear to stories of porn stars, sex tapes, drugs, anger management and the rock and roll scene, we can only imagine that Tommyland will remain on the best-seller list for weeks to come.
These are the stories that caught our eye this week — tell us what you think and if your favorite author, poet or organization is making literary news, we want to hear about it.