News and Current Events
(12/21/2011 7:22:00 AM)
Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician Václav Havel died this Sunday, on 18 December 2011.
He was a A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he was the tenth and last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003) . He wrote over 20 plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.
Havel was a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, that proposed the establishment of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. He also received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the freedom medal of the Four Freedoms Award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award and several other distinctions.
Havel was voted 4th in Prospect magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals.
At the time of his death he was Chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. Equally, he was the founder of VIZE97 foundation, and the Forum 2000 annual global conference.
Beginning in the 1960s, his work turned to focus on the politics of Czechoslovakia. After the Prague Spring, he became increasingly active. In 1977, he co-authored the Human Rights charter called Charter 77, which brought him an international recognition as the leader of opposition in Czechoslovakia. Consequently, this led to his persecution by the communist regime, and repeated imprisonment.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution launched Havel into the presidency. In this role, he led Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic to multiparty democracy. His thirteen years in office saw radical change in his nation, including its split with Slovakia, which Havel opposed, its accession into NATO and start of the negotiations for membership in the European Union, which was attained in 2004.
Quotations from Václav Havel on Poemhunter
http: //www.poemhunter.com/quotations/famous.asp? people=V%E1clav%20Havel
(12/16/2011 8:13:00 AM)
2012 USA Poet Stamps
The United States Post Office is honoring ten poets with their very own postage stamps. They're to be dedicated March 3 at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago.
Art director and stamp designer Derry Noyes selected the photographs used in the stamp art. These stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps. The lineup: Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.
(12/9/2011 3:41:00 AM)
Chilean poet Nicanor Parra was awarded Spain's Cervantes Prize. The award is given by the Spanish Ministry for Culture and is recognised as the most important literary prize for poetry in the Spanish language.
Nicanor Parra is a mathematician and poet, who has been considered to be a popular poet in Chile with enormous influence and popularity in Latin America, and also considered one of the most important poets of the Spanish language literature. He describes himself as an 'anti-poet, ' due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function—after recitations he would exclaim Me retracto de todo lo dicho, or, 'I take back everything I said'.
More information about Parra and his poems on
(12/8/2011 3:08:00 AM)
Pablo Neruda's body could be exhumed
The Communist Party in Chile has asked for the remains of the poet Pablo Neruda to be exhumed due to allegations that he may have been poisoned.
The court is probing more than 725 deaths caused by alleged abuses during General Pinochet’s dictatorship between 1972 and 1990.
The poet, who had won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature, died in the same hospital in Sandiego where former President Eduardo Frei died in 1982 while recovering from a hernia operation.
Manuel Araya, who was Neruda's chauffeur, has told reporters in recent months that he and Neruda's widow received a phone call from the poet on the day of his death from a hospital where he was being treated for late-stage prostate cancer.
Araya reported that Neruda said to 'come quickly, because while I was asleep a doctor entered and gave me a shot.'
The 69-year-old poet died that day, Sept.23,1973, in the Santa Maria Clinic.
The Pablo Neruda Foundation, which guards the poet's legacy, said in a statement in May that there is 'no proof whatsoever that suggests Pablo Neruda died of causes other than cancer'.
Although the late Pablo Neruda was best known for his poetry, he was a lifelong member of Chile's Communist Party, a lawmaker and a former ambassador to France.
Read the rest of the article on BBC Latin America News
(12/6/2011 2:16:00 AM)
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day we remember and mourn the loss of 14 women, murdered at Montréal's École Polytechnique, murdered because they were women.
On December 6,1989, an armed man walked into an Engineering class at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. After he forced the men to leave, he said he hated feminists and started shooting the women in the class. Then he moved on and began shooting women throughout the school. At the end of his rampage, he had killed 14 women and himself.
This man believed that women were responsible for his failure to gain entrance to the school. He believed that feminists ruined his chances because of affirmative action in universities.
In response to such acts of violence and their relationship to everyday sexism, Canada established December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women.
December 6 not only marks the anniversary of the massacre, but it reminds us that violence against women continues in Canada and around the world. As a day of action, it prompts us to take steps to end violence against women.
For more information and facts on 'Status of Women Canada' website: http: //www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/dates/vaw-vff/index-eng.html
(12/3/2011 3:32:00 AM)
Tomorrow (December 3) is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.
What bookstore will you visit with the kid in your life? Founded by novelist Jenny Milchman, the new tradition urges parents to pass along the joy of bookstore shopping to the next generation.
'Bookstores hold a place in the hearts and times of our community. They are places to discover an author, a story, a life. Nothing affords the conversation and interaction among books and book lovers that a bookstore does. In the future, whether you download your story or pluck a volume off a shelf, a bookstore will be able to accommodate. But in order for bookstores to flourish and thrive, we must expose future generations to the unique pleasures they offer. On December 3rd,2011, take the child in your life to a bookstore. Watch his face light up as you give him free access, not just to a new book, but to tomorrow.' — Jenny Milchman
(12/2/2011 1:38:00 AM)
Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 1949. Besides, by resolution 57/195 of 18 December 2002, the Assembly proclaimed 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition. The Day was first celebrated in 1986.
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
Raise Awareness, Stop Human Trafficking Now!
(12/1/2011 3:24:00 AM)
Today is World Aids Day, 'Act Aware! '
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
In 2010 there were
34 million people living with HIV
2.7 million people newly infected with HIV
1.8 million AIDS-related deaths
Find out the facts about HIV and use this knowledge to protect yourself and others from HIV infection.
Today, let's unite in the fight against HIV.
Wear the Ribbon, Play Safe & Remember.
(11/25/2011 3:26:00 AM)
Today is “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”
Women's activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17,1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The UN invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on this day as an international observance. Women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.
This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961) .
Take action and Say no to gender based violence!
(11/4/2011 2:06:00 AM)
'Occupy Wall Street and the Poetry of Now-Time: The reason the protests in Zuccotti Park are so powerful is that they are more about love than anger'
on New York Observer
Share your thoughts about the movement.