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Freedom to Read – Would You Print a Banned Book?

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  • Blackbird Poetry Festival - Featuring Mariyn Chin, Joeseph Ross April 26, 2018 Award-winning poet and author Marilyn Chin headlines the tenth annual Blackbird Poetry Festival for HoCoPoLitSo. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Oregon, activist poet Chin unflinchingly explores the intersection of the Asian and American worlds.The Blackbird Poetry Festival is a day devoted to verse, with student workshops, book sales, readings, and patrols by the…
  • Wilde Reading -- May -- Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet May 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Wilde Readings is Howard County's only monthly reading and open mic series. Celebrate National Poetry Month at Wilde Readings with featured authors Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet a. All are welcome. We encourage you to participate in the open mic. Please prepare no more than five minutes of performance time/two poems. Sign up in advance by calling…

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • Wilde Reading -- May -- Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet May 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Wilde Readings is Howard County's only monthly reading and open mic series. Celebrate National Poetry Month at Wilde Readings with featured authors Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet a. All are welcome. We encourage you to participate in the open mic. Please prepare no more than five minutes of performance time/two poems. Sign up in advance by calling…
  • Books In Bloom June 10, 2018 Downtown Columbia Second annual book festival in Downtown Columbia.
  • Baltimore Book Festival September 28, 2018 – September 30, 2018 Baltimore, MD, USA The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer and wine.

Freedom to Read – Would You Print a Banned Book?

Book:  Tropic of Cancer

Author:  Henry Miller

Controversy:   First published in 1934 by Obelisk Press, Tropic of Cancer was banned in the United States for obscenity (graphic sexual content).  U.S. Customs banned the book from being imported and sold in the United States.  However, the book was frequently smuggled into the country.  From the 1930s to the 50s, Tropic of Cancer was the subject of many lawsuits between the government and publishers/book sellers.

Challenge:  In 1961, Grove Press legally published Tropic of Cancer, and lawsuits, once again, were filed in 21 states against store owners that sold the book.  The case against it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 with the decision of it being obscene was overturned.

Impact:  Tropic of Cancer is considered a 20th Century literary masterpiece.  Miller broke ground with a new literary writing style with his fusion of real life with fiction, free association writing, mysticism, and philosophy in the book.  Many writers of the time hailed Miller as a new literary voice despite critics of the book.

Beat Generation writers, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Williams S. Burroughs and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, claimed to be greatly influenced by Miller’s work.

It has been named on several 100 Best or Must Read Book lists and was instrumental in paving the way for challenging censorship in the United States and Freedom of Speech cases.


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