2007 in poetry


  • March 5: a car bomb was exploded on Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, it was an established street for bookselling for hundreds of years and the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. On March 8, to remember the tragic event, Baghdad poets presented readings on the remains of the street.[1] This was followed by various poetry readings around the United States commemorating the bombing of the historic center of the literary and intellectual community of Baghdad, many of the readings took place in the final weeks of August 2007.[2]
  • April 17: Nikki Giovanni, a professor of English at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US state of Virginia, both spoke and recited poetry at the campus convocation commemorating the Virginia Tech massacre of the day before. Giovanni taught the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho in a poetry class. She had previously approached the department chair to have Cho taken out of her class.[3] "We are the Hokies! We will prevail! We will prevail! We are Virginia Tech!" Giovanni said, bringing the audience to its feet and into a spontaneous cheer. Giovanni closed the ceremony with a chant poem, intoning, "We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech... We do not understand this tragedy... No one deserves a tragedy."[3]
  • August 9: Bangladeshi poet Taslima Nasreen was attacked at a book signing in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh by a crowd of protesters who shouted for her death.[4] The attackers consisted of lawmakers and members of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party who objected to her writings on religion and oppression of women. After the attack, India criminally charged Nasreen with "hurting Muslim feelings", punishable by up to three years in jail.[5]
  • The New Yorker magazine announced that longtime poetry editor Alice Quinn was leaving and, as of November, Paul Muldoon, an Irish native and U.S. citizen, would be taking over what The Chronicle of Higher Education called "one of the most powerful positions in American poetry".[6]
  • Scottish poet Alastair Reid read his poem "Scotland" publicly for the last time at a literary festival in St Andrews, then burned the manuscript.[7]
  • The Eagles set "An Old-Fashioned Song", a poem by John Hollander, to music (four-part harmony with guitar chords, but mostly singing it a cappella), named it "No More Walks in the Wood" after its first line. They released it on the album, "Long Road Out of Eden". The band added no words to the 21-line poem, and there are no choruses.[8]
  • In Russia, the expert board for the Bunin Prize for poetry dissolved itself amid reports of interference and pressure from sponsors. A new expert board was formed and the jury awarded the prize to Andrei Dementyev.[9]
  • Reality television contest Prince of Poets is launched in the United Arab Emirates.
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