Love Game For Serena: Spox Says Williams Is Pregnant
It’s another love game for Serena Williams: She is pregnant — and, based on the timeline she offered, she already was when she won the Australian Open.
A spokeswoman for Williams, Kelly Bush Novak, wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday: “I’m happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this Fall.”
Earlier in the day, Williams posted a photo of herself on Snapchat with the caption “20 weeks,” sparking all sorts of speculation on social media about whether she was, indeed, with child.
The 35-year-old Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in January — a little less than 12 weeks ago. She has not competed since, citing a knee injury when withdrawing from tournaments at Indian Wells, California, and Key Biscayne, Florida.
She announced in late December that she was engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Williams would appear to be out for the rest of this tennis season, a blow to a sport in which she is an unqualified star — and, of course, something that makes major titles easier to come by for other competitors. The next major tournament is the French Open, which starts on May 28. Wimbledon begins in early July, and the U.S. Open in late August.
There is recent precedent for tennis players to return to action after becoming a mother. Kim Clijsters retired briefly to start a family, then came back to action and won Grand Slam titles. Another former No. 1 and major champion, Victoria Azarenka, has announced she’ll be getting back on tour soon after having a baby.
Williams’ 23 Grand Slam singles titles are a record for the Open era, which began in 1968 — she broke a tie with Steffi Graf in Australia. Only one woman has won more: Margaret Smith Court, who claimed part of her 24 during the amateur era.
Meryl Streep, Meg Ryan Among Readers At Poetry Tribute
NEW YORK (AP) — At an all-star tribute to poetry on Wednesday, Meryl Streep was thinking about her family.
The Oscar-winning actress sang a lullaby she learned from her mother; read a Gary Snyder poem she had heard about from her sister-in-law, actress Maeve Kinkead; and recited a poem by Maggie Smith (the writer, not the actress, Streep reminded the audience) about a parent protecting her kids from the sorrows of the world:
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children.
Streep, Meg Ryan and Grammy-winning jazz artist Cecile McLorin Salvant were among the readers, and singers, at the 15th annual presentation of Poetry & the Creative Mind. The sold-out event at Avery Fisher Hall was presented by the Academy of American Poets in honor of National Poetry Month. It also featured Amanda Palmer, Maurice Hines and several others reading works by such poets as Frank O’Hara and Nikki Giovanni — and sometimes throwing in a little music.
Palmer brought a ukulele on stage and roared the instrument’s praises, while Salvant’s voice was all she needed for a shattering performance of the Bessie Smith song “You Ought to be Ashamed.” Hines was shaking and twitching and nearly started dancing as he read Maya Angelou’s “Ain’t That Bad?” He first heard the poem from Angelou herself when they happened to ride on the same train.
Poet Elizabeth Alexander, the evening’s host, noted that poetry is both necessary and popular. Some of the readers defended the National Endowment of the Arts, which faces possible elimination by President Donald Trump’s administration, while others referred indirectly to Trump and the power of art as resistance.
Author Sebastian Junger read a pair of Whitman poems and likened him to Sen. Bernie Sanders as both comforting and “deeply subversive.” Streep, an impassioned backer of Hillary Clinton in 2016, was so impressed with Palmer’s voice and musicality she suggested she run for president in 2020.
Some were simply amazed to be invited. Actor Wayne Brady confided that he was a very late convert to poetry — the conversion happened back stage before the event — but he sounded warm and confident as he embarked on Terrance Hayes’ “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Playwright-director James Lapine chose works by two poets who have died in recent years, Thomas Lux and Mark Strand, whose “Eating Poetry” captured the night’s pleasure for both readers and listeners.
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.