Forecast: April

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LITERATURE
04/09 MATTHEW PEARL DROPS A DICKENS THRILLER

The bestselling Cantabrigian who rendered historical Boston in his novel The Dante Club reads from his new mystery, The Last Dickens, which imagines a Beantown publisher, circa 1870, caught up in the murderous hunt for the manuscript of Dickens’s final, unfinished book.  

Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, brooklinebooksmith.com.

 

CONCERTS 04/17
Bret and Jemaine of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords take their folk parody on the road. Murray would be proud.

Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, agganisarena.com.

 

 

RITES
04/18 SWAN BOATS
WEIGH ANCHOR TODAY

Marking at once the arrival of spring and the onset of the tourism crush, those daffy swan boats make their maiden voyage of 2009. This will be owner Paul Paget‘s 40th year at the helm of the iconic operation. He’s only the fourth in a line of Pagets to run the boats since they began floating in the Public Garden in 1877.  

swanboats.com.

 

MARATHONS 04/20
Our annual reminder that the best sporting events require only towing cars, not flipping them over and setting them on fire.
[For tips for Boston runners, click here.]

 

BUSINESS
04/20 LOCAL BIOTECHS FACE BANISHMENT TO THE ECONOMIC WILDERNESS

As financial markets have cratered, companies on the tech-heavy NASDAQ exchange have taken a unique hit—these are, after all, hardly the days for risky tech investments, sayeth conventional wisdom. Now, a few local biotechs face the prospect of getting booted from the exchange as rules requiring their share prices stay above a dollar, relaxed in October, go back into effect today. Without a turnaround, firms like Lexington’s NitroMed and Waltham’s Altus could suffer the dreaded delisting, a fate that would make their chances of recovery even tougher as they lose visibility and easy access to what investors are left. (Lexington’s Epix earned a special extension and now has until May to prove it should stay up on the board.)

Not making things any easier is the uncertainty over how healthcare reform might impact the drug business. Though the science-friendly Obama administration has been a boon to companies in fields like stem-cell research, other biotechs are sweating the president’s push to fund access to cheaper, generic versions of their expensive drugs. In the two weeks after Obama announced his plan in February, shares in Cambridge’s tiny Idenix fell 33 percent. Even Kendall Square behemoth Genzyme, which is in no danger of getting delisted, slid 22 percent.

 

MY AGENDA
Robert Pinsky
Boston University professor, former poet laureate   

Illustration by Antony Hare

One of America’s best-known poets, Pinsky releases his latest anthology, Essential Pleasures, during a very busy National Poetry Month.

On 4/7, I’ll be at the First Parish Church Meetinghouse in Cambridge with a lot of friends reading poems aloud. They’re not poets, but folks from all walks of life, which is the idea behind this project. It’ll be the first time I’m ever at a reading with the secretary of agriculture [Tom Vilsack]. [Harvard English professor] Stephen Greenblatt, [Rialto chef] Jody Adams—I think even the Car Talk guys will be there. [Recitation Celebration, harvard.com]

My wife and I make frequent visits to the excellent East Coast Grill in Inman Square, right around the corner from where we live. I’m teaching a poetry seminar in the M.F.A. program at BU, so I’ll sometimes have students over to the apartment for makeup sessions when I have to miss a class.

I’m also blogging this month about the pleasure of reciting poems. A while ago, Newsweek published an article saying that poetry is dead. But I still maintain that poetry’s chances for the future are much, much, better than Newsweek‘s. [poemsoutloud.net] AS TOLD TO BRIGID SWEENEY