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Ritchie to Speak on Book for Library Week

Sunday kicks off National Library Week, which runs through April 16. To celebrate, the Senate Library invites one and all to listen to Senate Associate Historian Donald Ritchie read from and speak about his latest book, “Reporting From Washington: Inside the Washington Press Corps.”

The book, released in March, begins in 1932 and follows the evolution of the Washington press corps throughout the years, ending with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Ritchie includes how journalism changed over the decades by devoting chapters to the different forms of reporting, from print to radio to the Internet.

The event is free and will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Monday in room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Contact Chris Cochran at (202) 224-7106 for more information.

Poet Laureate Starts Newspaper Column

U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser wants to return poetry to a place of relevance in Americans’ lives. So he’s launched a weekly newspaper column intended to do just that.

Each week, the column, which premiered Thursday, will spotlight a poem by an American along with a short introduction by Kooser.

As his first subject, Kooser chose a humorous piece by South Dakota Poet Laureate David Allan Evans, titled “Neighbors,” which looks at the interactions of a married couple as they go about a household chore.

Kooser’s initiative follows a tradition dating to the early 1990s, when laureates began promoting pet projects aimed at more widely disseminating poetry throughout the country. Joseph Brodsky pushed to get anthologies of “good poetry” into supermarkets and airports, while Billy Collins started an effort to have poems read over schools’ public address systems or at assemblies.

In a statement, Kooser, whose wife, Kathleen Rutledge, is the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star, said that historically newspapers had served as a forum to broadcast poetry to a broader audience.

“Readers enjoyed it. They would clip verses, stick them in their diaries and enclose them in letters. They even took time to memorize some of the poems they discovered,” he said.

Co-sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the Library of Congress, the column is offered free of charge each week. Any print outlet interested in publishing it should go to

— Jennifer Lash and Bree Hocking

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