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Micronycteris giovanniae, The Poet’s Bat

What famous U.S. poet has a bat named in her honor? Hint: it’s Micronycteris giovanniae. This leaf-nosed bat was named by Texas Tech biologist Rober Baker, who happens to be a big fan of the work of Nikki Giovanni. The renowned poet has said...

Rare-Do-Wells Puzzle

Quiz Guy John Chaneski says his wife, the poet Jennifer Michael Hecht, has pointed out that there are some people who shouldn’t be classified as ne’er-do-wells, because every once in a while, they do manage to do something right...

Adynaton Origin and Meaning

The word adynaton, which refers to a jocular phrase that emphasizes the idea of impossibility, was adopted into English from Greek, where adynaton means “impossible,” a combination of a- meaning “not” and dynatos, which means...

Jay Wright on Poetry

In an interview with the literary journal Callaloo, the poet Jay Wright tells a story about giving a poetry reading and then explaining his work in response to a question from a young member of the audience. This is part of a complete episode.

Pineapple Posture

In her essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments (Bookshop|Amazon), poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil describes the defensive action of the so-called vampire squid. When threatened, this creature...

Laurels as an Honor

To garner the laurels, meaning “to collect praise” refers to the ancient practice of awarding crowns of bay laurel leaves to victors in competitions. This tradition of honoring distinction with such a wreath is reflected in the terms...