1. From NPR News: “Shall I Encode Thee in DNA? Sonnets Stored on Double Helix.” There have been a variety of people interested in both evolution and Shakespeare’s sonnets: an Australian professor named Brian Boyd recently published a book called Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition and Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Since we’re examining the formal features of the sonnets, you may want to read over the summary of his argument and ask yourself if you find it convincing, or sufficient.
2. The presidential inauguration usually sparks a few public discussions/rants about the state of poetry, e.g., “Is Poetry Dead?” in the Washington Post, and rebuttals on Flavorwire and other venues.
The inaugural poem itself can be found here. (Think, again, about whether Blanco’s delivery changes the printed text.)
Finally, Yahoo! News commissioned several alternative poems for the inauguration, including one by Emory’s own Kevin Young.