Yesterday I went ahead and finsihed the last 30 pages or so of Mortified by David Nadelberg. This book was such a fun read! I believe I have mentioned it earlier and how it made me just laugh outloud, but to summarize: Mortified is comprised of the journals, notes, poems etc of young people mostly from the 80′s but a few from the late 70′s and a couple from the early 90′s and after (or during) the entries the adult authors will comment on what they wrote. Not only are the journal/diary entries often hysterical but they also help you remember just how tough it was to be a teenager and to be so unsure of yourself. DEFINITELY a lot of fun.
Once I finished Mortified I added a new non-fiction book to my stack: The Christ-Haunted Landscape–Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction by Susan Ketchin. I read portions of this during a Southern Literature course in college but I have never had the opportunity to read the whole book. I have only read through the intro but I am already really pleased with my purchase. The book is a collection of short stories and then interviews with the author’s about various topics that coincide with the idea of the South as “Christ-Haunted” Landscape. I am fascinated with how our past influences what we write, even if we are writing fiction so this is a perfect piece for me. I am also hoping it might help me narrow down a seminar topic I’ll need sometime next year as I get closer to finishing my MFA.
Well, I’m off to do some light housecleaning and I want to get in some more good reading today. I got in a good amount yesterday while watching the NFL Draft. TTFN (ta ta for now, a salute to the writers in Mortified).
Today I finished two very different books of poetry: The World Doesn’t End by Charles Simic and What Flies Away by Anne Campanella.
Simic’s award winning book of prose poems is amazing! I have a difficult time w/ surrealism but Simic’s word choice makes the surrealism clear enough even for me . This was a fascinating read that started out as one of my MFA books, but I really want to re-read this and look into more of Simic’s work. To finish off my reading for the Prose Poetry seminar for May I have to start and finish Sleeping with the Dictionary by Mullen. I have decided to write a paper on this particular seminar and I really have too much I want to write about!!
Anne Campanella’s book is a very different beast. I purchased her book at a local reading. It was published by Main Street Rag, so I was able to hear her read and have her sign the book. Mrs. Campanella has a definite narrative quality to her poems. The poems revolve around three main people: her dying father, her elderly mother who appears to have Alzheimer’s/dementia, and the birth and early years of her late in life daughter. When I try to find words to express my feeling/opinion on reading this book I find it difficult without sounding cliche. But, I’ll just be frank. The poems are easy to read and would be an excellent collection for someone new to poetry or who is dealing with similiar life changing events. There is something serene about her writing and while it is not what many would consider “great” (and whatever that means) it definitely has merit. I am still very happy with this purchase.
Well, since I finished Simic this morning and I don’t have my other books with me I’ll try to finish my most recent edits for my workshop due May 1st. Hard to get motivated to do much else on Friday’s Anyone out there!! Have a good weekend and if you know of any 1 or 2 day workshops, seminars, presentations coming up this July please let me know as I am looking for something to attend. I received a flyer for one in Athens, GA but not sure if it really excites me.
I generally post at the end of the day, when I am winding down, but I have been so lack on actually posting that I thought I’d post a morning bit of dribble.
Recently I finished the LitMag ABZ printed by Marshall University in West Virginia. I picked this up at an independent bookstore in Charleston, WV while I was on a business trip and this is a really good little lit mag. It is simply produced but has good quality poetry within. You should definitely check it out if you get a chance. I think it will be one of the next publications that I send a submission to.
Not much else to report right now. Just going to work and feeling a little overwhelmed that my May residency is rapidly approaching. In prep for the residency I have: one rough draft of response paper, 2.5 books (poetry) to read for the second paper, and two short sections of books to read for one more course during the residency. Besides all that I am revising my May 1st workshop submission and the poems I will need for small and large workshop groups during residency. I thought I had planned well, but feeling a little frazzled. Might actually look forward to my business trip coming up to Frederick, MD if maybe I can get some work done!
I brought the rough draft of my Great Gatsby paper w/ me to work today.Hope I can sneak some of that in while getting at least 10 Simic poems read for the next paper. Whew, I think I have made myself tired!
Last night I was going to type up a blog post but we were having computer issues. Luckily we were able to get a replacement modem at the Time Warner store convienently located in Northlake Mall, nice .
We had kind of a nutty day yesterday. I was going to stay home and finish painting the porch railing etc, but my hubby wanted me to go with him to Greensboro, so I went. I chatted w/ his mom while he and his brother helped his Dad install a new toilet, sink and vanity in the master bath. I didn’t think I would get much done but I managed to type up the rough draft of my Great Gatsby paper as well as finishing two books. My paper is horrendous and needs serious editting, but the books went better.
The first book I finished yesterday was Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fanny Flagg. I really enjoyed this book. Fanny Flagg has a gift for humour but also a nice weaving of drama. I feel like she is writing southern literature when I read her work but it is mostly set in Missouri so not so much so. This would make a great beach read and I highly recommend it.
The second book I finished was If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell. This book was good all the way through. Mr. Campbell has a simple writing style and there were a lot of great photos included. Chins is about Campbell’s epxeriences becoming an actor. I think it can appeal to a lot of people: would be actors, artists in general, fans of Bruce (of course). I am definitely going to put his next book on my amazon list because this was a fun read. Wish I had known about it when it came out back in 2001 and 2002 because it would have been fun to go to one of his book signings.
So, I have added two new books to my reading list and I am ready, mostly, to start another week of work **sigh**. Hope anyone out there who has stopped by to read had a good weekend like me!!!
Now, what should I have for dinner?
Since my writing is in a bit of a slump (I’m still writing a poem a day but nothing really quotable-mainly look like journal entry’s) I thought I’d make a few notes about what I’ve been reading.
I just finished Rimaud’s Illuminations. There are some truly wonderful prose poems in this collection but some of his more “visionary” poems pushed the surreal limit for me. Perhaps when I go back to reread before writing my paper and/or annotation I’ll feel more moved. I’ll be moving onto Simic’s The World Doesn’t End shortly for the same course, so hopefully I’ll feel more enthused.
ROD #4-manga. Not as impressed w/ this manga series as I was the anime. I think there is too much action to try and convey in black and white. Almost done w/ that and ready to start the next issue of Chrono Crusade.
I also just finished the 2003 print edition of Poetry Daily. I went back and wrote down the authors that I particularly connected with and it is quite a list. It has been an interesting year since I started reading that book, a poem a day, since April 19th 2006. I had just gotten back from a trip to Japan and had made the decision just before leaving to get my poet self back on track. I managed to do that, I think, or at least start the journey including organizing all my work, making a tentative chapbook that has been sent out to a contest and applying and being accepted to the MFA at Queens. Yep, not a bad start.
Hope Against Hope by Nadezhda Mandelstam this is going to be a hard one for me. It is a memoir of a poet’s wife (don’t have the book in front of me) and it is SLOW going. It is leftover from the reading material for my January residency so no hurry as I will only need to annotate it at some time before I graduate, but I’m anal I want to do all my reading even if it feels a little like torture.
I think I’ll address the other things I am reading later because this post is going long. Till tomorrow
Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Charlotte Writer’s Club and I just had the best time. Two poets were there to read and discuss. The first one up was Janice Fuller and her poems were AMAZING! She has this wonderful flow and her newest book has some great new forms she has been working with. I have a feeling I will be looking for more of her books in the future.
The second reader was Keith Flynn who not only read from his new books (one a collection of essays about poetry and the other a book of poetry) but he also sang for us. Great fun.
Now will I ever get to reading these books! I keep going to these readings and I am just piling up on the books. I do have a break from MFA work between June and July so hopefully then I can do a great deal of non-academic reading. Then again, I wonder when we get our new reading list for January residency? Good thing I love to read
I am so glad that this article was posted in the Speakeasy Forum as the tragedy at VA Tech continues to unfold. This article is from one of the directors, Lucinda Roy, at the VA Tech Creative Writing program.
Please read and keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.