Owner of Grolier Poetry Passes Away
The owner of Grolier Poetry, Ifeanyi A. Menkiti, has passed away today, June 18. The Nigerian poet and Wellesley philosopher professor was only the third owner of 92-year-old Grolier, a hub and haven for poetry in the area. Details on services can be found at their website.
Here’s a little bit about Menkiti from the Grolier Poetry website:
Born in Onitsha, Nigeria, Ifeanyi Menkiti first came to the United States to attend Pomona College from which he received his undergraduate degree. Later he went on to Columbia University and New York University for further studies. He received his Ph.D in Philosophy from Harvard University. He has taught Philosophy at Wellesley College for more than 41 years.
Ifeanyi Menkiti is the author of Before a Common Soil (2007) and Of Altair, The Bright Light (2005) and two previous collections of poetry, Affirmations (1971) and The Jubilation of Falling Bodies (1978). Other poems have appeared in journals and periodicals such as the Sewanee Review, Ploughshares, New Directions, New Letters, the Massachusetts Review. In addition, such other publications as the Evergreen Review, Stony Brook, Bitterroot, the Southwest Review, Chelsea and the African journals Okike, Transition, and Nigeria Magazine have also carried his work. In 1975, he was honored with a fellowship in poetry from Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities through the Artists Foundation, followed in 1978 by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Menkiti’s poetry has also been aired on National Public Radio and he has given public readings in the New York City public schools under the auspices of the Academy of American Poets as well as for radio stations WBAI (NYC) and WGBH (Boston).
Lesley Evening Reading Series Returns
This Friday, June 21, the Lesley University Evening Reading Series returns with its summer installation. Journalist and author Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan will headline the series that will feature both published authors, Lesley MFA faculty, and graduate students, covering nonfiction, poetry, fiction, writing for stage and screen, and writing for young people. Readings run through June 28. More information, including the line-up, can be found at their website.
Boston’s Frugal Bookstore Featured on LitHub
In case you missed it, Frugal Bookstore, located in Roxbury, had an interview featured on LitHub back in May. Take a read through the interview with founders Clarrissa and Leonard Egerton, and go visit! They are a neighborhood-focused bookstore that features new books, both in the store and online. And as mentioned in the article, “Our specialty is that the books in our store are predominantly written by authors of color. Our diverse selection is a good representation of the people within the community and those who come to visit.” More information can be found at their website.
Reader Prom and Book Drive Returns Saturday, June 15
This Saturday, June 15, Reader Prom and Book Drive returns for a sophomore dance (as in, second annual). Join Porter Square Books and “chaperones” Stephanie Gayle and M. T. Anderson for an evening of snacks, drinks, dancing, and more (that will surely bring back awkward memories from those teenage years). Bring a book date (which you will promptly dump), but not before you get a quick pic for posterity. Corsages optional.
Ok, for real - Reader Prom is an opportunity to have a cool writerly party while making a difference. Proceeds go to the Porter Square Books Foundation, and your book donation will go to a local non-profit. Find more details and ticket information at their site.
Prison Book Program, Part II: Literary Citizens Serving
”I must admit, too, that finding the perfect books for someone, hoping that their day will be brightened by the books we choose for them — that feeling makes every moment at the PBP feel precious.”
In Part II of our series on the Prison Book Program - whose volunteers meet in Quincy to pack and distribute books to incarcerated members of society - guest writer Katie Vhay interviews volunteer Lee Collins, to discuss her work with and rewards from being a part of the PBP.
Prison Book Program, Part I: Books, Connection, and Community
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and one Saturday a month, volunteers gather in Quincy to sort books to send to incarcerated members of society. Volunteer with the Prison Book Program and its social media editor Katie Vhay describes the work the volunteers with the PBP do in our newest article, and shares responses from the recipients of the books - and how not just a book but the human connection involved in giving the book can change lives.
Boston Book Festival Announces Two-Day Expansion
After ten years of the Boston Book’s Festival’s one day event in and around Copley Square, they announced that this October’s event will be a two-day literary affair. Saturday, October 19 will be held in Copley Square as usual, and with added programming in Dudley Square in Roxbury on Sunday, October 20. Visit their website for more information. In the meantime, get ready for the Lit Crawl on June 6, and learn more about the application for BBF Unbound programming.
Boston Book Festival’s Lit Crawl Returns June 6
One of our more unique literary events, Lit Crawl, returns on Thursday, June 6 for its third year. Imagine strolling around the Back Bay and stopping into various shops and establishments to find literary events - from straight readings to local authors playing Balderdash to Poe-inspired improv, and more. And yes, drinks are provided! The full schedule is now available. We’ll see you there!
WriteBoston Holds Pros&Conversation on May 9
On Thursday, May 9, WriteBoston will host its annual fundraiser, Pros&Conversation, in order to support WriteBoston’s "teacher training and free student writing programs.” The evening will feature Danielle Allen, Joshua Foer, Meredith Goldstein, and Marjan Kamali, as well as WriteBoston student journalists. Find more information and tickets at their website.
Raising a Reader Holds Dinner with an Author on May 8
Raising a Reader of Massachusetts will host Dinner with an Author on Wednesday, May 8, a fundraising for the organization whose mission is "to end the cycle of low literacy in high-need communities in Massachusetts.” Featured authors include Ace Atkins, Marianne Leone, Claire Messud, William Martin, Ben and Tonya Mezrich, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and more. Tickets are still available at their website.
New Opera The Handmaid’s Tale Open at Boston Lyric Opera
A new opera of The Handmaid’s Tale, staged by the Boston Lyric Opera, opens on Sunday, May 5, running for four performances to Sunday, May 12. Directed by theater icon Anne Bogart and led by conductor David Angus, the score will combine traditional opera and contemporary musical themes, and it will be set at the Lavietes Pavilion at Harvard (next to “the football stadium…where they hold the Men’s Salvagings”), a gymnasium reminiscent of the Red Center.
They’re offering friends of the Boston Book Blog a 30% literary discount on tickets! Simply enter the promo code BOOKS at checkout for any one of the performances. You can find more information and tickets at the BLO website.