Monday, April 25, 2011

Poetic Pairings - 4/25/2011

National Poetry Month means 'poetic pairings', on VPR Classical. Each weekday morning begins with a poetry reading and a piece of music chosen to fit the theme of the selected poem.

Nikki Giovanni is an activist, a teacher, and a cancer survivor. Every one of those attributes has served to deeply inform her poetry. Her first volume of verse ("Black Feeling, Black Talk") was published in 1967 in direct response to the civil rights movement. Since then she's published another 25, including a selection of books for children.

In 2008 National Public Radio commissioned her to write a poem for President Obama's inauguration ceremony, and, she was one of the select poets asked to read at the Lincoln Memorial ceremony commemorating the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 2009.

This morning we'll hear Giovanni's spirited poem, "Stardate 18628.190#", a rhythmic pastiche of familiar home images, iconic civil rights moments, and music references. After that Leontyne Price (one of the singers mentioned in the poem) sings the triumphant "Alleliua" from Mozart's bouyant concert aria "Exsultate jubilate".

Listen for more poetic pairings this month, just after 8am weekdays on VPR Classical. You can also find out more about Vermont's month-long celebration of poetry, "Poetry Alive!" here.

(photo by Brett Weinstein)

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