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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A way with words

Sure, there’s national poetry month. It’s April, in case you’ve been under a rock. And some people celebrate children’s poetry week. Kenn Nesbitt, the Spokane author named children’s poet laureate this week by the Poetry Foundation, has a smaller-scale ambition:

Mead senior wins national poetry recitation competition

Langston Ward, a senior at Mead High School, is the national Poetry Out Loud champion, rising to the top from hundreds of thousands of students who recited poetry on stages across the U.S. Ward, 18, secured the win with a performance of “The Bad Old Days,” by Kenneth Rexroth. It was the third and final poem he performed in the competition that ended Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

Pockets of prose

Twenty years before she died, Kathryn Rantala’s sister wrote 20 pages covering the history of her life. Excerpts:

Tolkien class at Wis. university proves popular

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The vast collection of J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts initially sold senior Joe Kirchoff on Marquette University, so when the school offered its first course devoted exclusively to the English author, Kirchoff wanted in. The only problem: It was full and he wasn't on the literature track. Undaunted, the 22-year-old political science and history major lobbied the English department and others starting last spring and through the summer and "kind of just made myself a problem," he said. His persistence paid off.

Veterans killed in train crash were war heroes

The four veterans killed when a freight train barreled into the parade float they were riding on were decorated military men who served on the front lines multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. They survived gunshots, explosions and grenade attacks that left some with brain injuries that slurred their speech and made it difficult to walk.

Veterans killed in train crash were war heroes

The four veterans killed when a freight train barreled into the parade float they were riding on were decorated military men who served on the front lines multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. They survived gunshots, explosions and grenade attacks that left some with brain injuries that slurred their speech and made it difficult to walk.

Author barred from Atlanta Jewish book festival

ATLANTA (AP) — An author whose outspoken criticism of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank got him banned from a Jewish book festival will instead speak at a sold-out event nearby. Peter Beinart was originally one of 52 writers invited to speak at this week's Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, which attracts about 10,000 people each year. Bowing to pressure from some local Jews offend by Beinart's views, festival organizers then cancelled his scheduled appearance — sparking a backlash to the backlash.

Petraeus affair and the role of biographers

NEW YORK (AP) — The affair between retired Army Gen. David Petraeus and author Paula Broadwell is but an extreme example of the love/hate history between biographers and their subjects. Even before their outing led to Petraeus' resignation as CIA director, Broadwell had been criticized for the rosy tone of "All In," which The Associated Press described in 2011 as "part hagiography and part defense" of his strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as long as biographies are written by and about human beings, scientific precision will remain an ideal. The stories of famous women and men often are colored by rapture and disenchantment, confusion and bias.

Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies

Jacques Barzun, a pioneering cultural historian, reigning public intellectual and longtime Ivy League professor who became a best-selling author in his 90s with the acclaimed "From Dawn to Decadence," has died. He was 104. Barzun, who taught for nearly 50 years at Columbia University, passed away Thursday evening in San Antonio, where he had lived in recent years, his son-in-law Gavin Parfit said.

Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies

Jacques Barzun, a pioneering cultural historian, reigning public intellectual and longtime Ivy League professor who became a best-selling author in his 90s with the acclaimed "From Dawn to Decadence," has died. He was 104. Barzun, who taught for nearly 50 years at Columbia University, passed away Thursday evening in San Antonio, where he had lived in recent years, his son-in-law Gavin Parfit said.

Nobel winner Mo urges China dissident’s freedom

BEIJING — China’s newly named Nobel laureate for literature expressed hope today that an imprisoned Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be freed, putting a dent in the ruling Communist Party’s attempts to burnish its credentials with the latest prize.

MacArthur Foundation reveals 2012 ‘genius grants’

CHICAGO (AP) — Mandolin player and composer Chris Thile learned the hard way that when you get a call from the 312 area code this time of year, you should probably answer the phone. Thile is among 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants," which are given in a secrecy-shrouded process. Winners have no idea they've been nominated for the $500,000 awards until they get the call, and nominators must remain anonymous.

Americana revisited: Rockwell’s models reuniting

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Don Trachte's cowlick has been tamed. Mary Hall is no longer a towhead. Butch Corbett is still thin, but not the beanpole he once was. And Tom Paquin's carrot top is thinner and grayer. Twenty or so people who were children when they posed in the 1940s and '50s for their neighbor Norman Rockwell in the Vermont town of Arlington are reuniting there Saturday to share their memories of the great American artist who once lived in their midst.

Victim 1 in Jerry Sandusky trial has book deal

NEW YORK (AP) — A key witness against convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, known in court papers as Victim 1, has a book deal and will soon reveal his identity, a publisher announced Thursday. Ballantine Bantam Dell said that "Silent No More: Victim (hash)1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky," is coming out Oct. 23. The memoir will be co-written by the victim's mother and psychologist and "will share how he survived years of shame and secrecy, harassment and accusation, before reporting Sandusky's actions to the authorities, and will offer a hopeful and inspiring message for victims of abuse," Ballantine announced.

AP Exclusive: Knox boyfriend maintains innocence

SEATTLE (AP) — Raffaele Sollecito, whose budding love affair with American exchange student Amanda Knox helped land him in an Italian prison for four years, maintains the couple's innocence in a new book but acknowledges that their sometimes bizarre behavior after her roommate's killing gave police reason for suspicion. The pair was imprisoned for the November 2007 death of Meredith Kercher at Knox's apartment in Perugia, north of Rome. An appeals court overturned their conviction and freed them last fall, issuing a 143-page opinion that blasted the utter lack of evidence against them. Rudy Guede, a petty criminal who was convicted separately, remains imprisoned and is serving a 16-year-sentence.

AP Exclusive: Knox boyfriend maintains innocence

SEATTLE (AP) — Raffaele Sollecito, whose budding love affair with American exchange student Amanda Knox helped land him in an Italian prison for four years, maintains the couple's innocence in a new book but acknowledges that their sometimes bizarre behavior after her roommate's killing gave police reason for suspicion. The pair was imprisoned for the November 2007 death of Meredith Kercher at Knox's apartment in Perugia, north of Rome. An appeals court overturned their conviction and freed them last fall, issuing a 143-page opinion that blasted the utter lack of evidence against them. Rudy Guede, a petty criminal who was convicted separately, remains imprisoned and is serving a 16-year-sentence.