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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wordsmith.org founder coming to Auntie’s

The name Anu Garg likely means nothing to you.

Garg, a computer software and network guy who lives in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville, is creator of the Web site www.wordsmith.org and the person who oversees the A.Word.A.Day e-mail newsletter (which has more than 600,000 subscribers, some 500 of whom live in or near Spokane).

He will be in Spokane on Friday to entertain audiences at Auntie’s Bookstore by presenting his book “The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words.”

I receive Garg’s newsletter daily, except on weekends. Wednesday’s word, offered in a week that explored eponyms, was a good example of the “not-so-common” variety: “lucullan” (pronounced loo-KUHL-uhn), an adjective that means lavish or luxurious.

As the newsletter explains, the word was coined “after a Roman general Lucius Licinius Lucullus (c. 110-57 BCE), who was known for his sumptuous banquets.”

And then, like all good wordsmiths, Garg gave an example of the word in context (from the Wall Street Journal): “Mr. Buzzi’s tastes run the gamut from the simplest to the most Lucullan.”

According to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Garg is a native of India who began learning English in the sixth grade. He earned a master’s degree in computer science from Case Western Reserve and has gone on to work for such companies as AT&T Labs and MCI.

He started A.Word.A.Day while in graduate school.

“Language is a reflection of people,” he told the P-I.

That’s something we can all agree with, even those who live a Lucullan lifestyle.

Espada plus

Martin Espada, who will read from his poetry Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore (see reader board below), will give a talk earlier that day about the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda on Eastern Washington University’s Cheney campus.

Espada will speak at 2 p.m. at the school’s JFK Auditorium.

Preceding his talk, at 1 p.m., EWU students will read their winning essays from the “Diversity Within Diversity” writing contest.

All events are free and open to the public.

Awards galore

Grace Bauer’s poetry collection “Retreats & Recognitions,” published by Sandpoint’s Lost Horse Press, earned a bronze prize in the poetry category of the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

The IPPYs, which are in their 12th year, go to books in 64 national categories, plus regional and Book of the Year selections. Some 450 books received IPPYs this year.

For further information about the awards, go online at www.independentpublisher.com. For further information about Bauer’s book, go online at www.losthorsepress.org.

Poet’s corner

Sam Green, Washington state’s first poet laureate, will speak June 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Eastern Washington University.

Green, who lives in the San Juan Islands, is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including “Vertebrae: Poems, 1978-1994,” which was published by Eastern Washington University Press.

His talk, “Poetry in the Every Day,” will be sponsored by EWU Friends of the Library. For more information call (509) 359-2306.

Summer reads

The joint Spokane Public Library/Spokane County Library District summer reading program commences June 1. That’s when each of the two systems’ branches will begin accepting sign-ups, either in person or online at www.summerreadingspokane.org.

For further information, go online at www.spokanelibrary.org or www.scld.lib.wa.us. Or call your local branch.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

•Friends of the Cheney Community Library Book Discussion Group (“The Madonnas of Leningrad,” by Debra Dean), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Cheney Community Library, 610 First St., Cheney. Discussion leader: Ivy Green. Call (509) 893-8280.

The reader board

•Martin Espada (“The Republic of Poetry”), reading, 6 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

•Anu Garg (“The Dord, the Diglot and an Avocado or Two”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

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