We are having such strange weather in the south right now. No wonder I have been sick all week! Right now it is in the 70′s but it has started to pour down rain. Maybe you should read some of the Southern Women’s Review (pdf you have to download) in which I also have a poem? to get some more southern vibes.
Speaking of things to share. How about some additional essays? Here is a really terrific one over at The Rumpus that has a shout out to one of my favorite books A Wrinkle in Time. Or this essay in Hippocampus that I so wish had been part of the teaching philosophy I just had to write for an award I was nominated for.
I also want to mention Helen Losse’s newest chapbook which, when you purchase, will help those affected by the Joplin, MO tornadoes. I’ve had a chance to read and blurb the chapbook so I’d highly recommend picking up a copy or heck several for gifts. It is going to a great cause.
Hmm I had some other notes here I was going to mention about what I have seen on TV recently, but, ya know it must not have been that important if I can’t think of what it was right now . . .
I’m still in a rut on writing new poems. I’m still journaling and I submitted a set of poems this week (already rejected!) so I’m plugging away. How about you guys? I have decided I will share a poem that was recently rejected to see what you guys think.
–I’ll go see what I can do with the poem now
As always please feel free to share your work in progress, to ask questions, to share courteous conversation with others about my work and/or your work. My students were working on peer review this week (well the ones who came and the ones who were actually paying attention. It seemed there was a lot of spring fever and/or apathy in the air this week) and next week we move onto research.
And over in British Lit? Finished “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and next up is Chaucer you saucy wenches
One thing I didn’t mention in the Goodreads version of this review is how much pets are on my mind right now as I have a 13 year old cat with some health issues right now. We have had to put one cat to sleep for congestive heart failure and one died on us because the vet (not our vet now) didn’t catch that he had cancer. Making the decision with a life is difficult and I do appreciate how Doty speaks about being stewards of both ends of our pets lives.
Dog Years by Mark Doty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first piece of non-fiction that I’ve read by Mark Doty, but I was already familiar with his poetry. This memoir – of course – has a very poetic feel to it which is a good skill to have when reflecting on loss through the passing of pets and partners. Doty risks sentimentality and, I think, largely succeeds at being open without being overly sappy about doing with grief at those who pass on before us.
This was another book I read via my Kindle and it read well that way. The chapters are short enough to make reading the book in spurts effective and enjoyable even given the somewhat sad subject matter.
Definitely worth a read, especially for anyone who wishes to empathize/share in reflecting on loss and recovery.
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The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This graphic novel collection was a Christmas gift that I’m very glad I received. I find it hard, at times, to purchase graphic novels because they can be expensive yet I can read them very quickly. I found myself slowing down with this collection, though, in a very good way. I wanted the story to last longer so I’d read maybe 10 pages at a time to make it last longer.
This collection is set in Essex County, Canada and there are quite a few characters who get to tell their various stories of farm life, rural nursing etc but somehow each of these people have a connection to the other which isn’t surprising when writing about small town life.
I’m really in awe of the variety of Canadian graphic novel work I’ve read over the last few years. Is that where the non-super hero comics are being made best of all?
Don’t think of this as a comic, but think of it as a novel with lots of pictures. A novel that covers generations of families in a small community. Think of it as a chance – if you haven’t read graphic novels before – for you to try a new genre at the top of its game.
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Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I first read Jon Krakauer’s work when a friend was gracious enough to share a copy of “Into the Wild” with me. I really love his writing style and I almost gave this book a 5. The only reason I didn’t is because I found the number of “characters” a bit daunting. This isn’t his fault as he was trying to recount a very involved real life event. I also felt a bit bad for him that he had to add a section at the end of the book to update an ongoing debate from other participants (and writer’s of other books) in the tragic events in the 1996 Everest climbing attempts. I, however, appreciated that he did do that and I think it would be fascinating to discuss the situation with my students. We want, often, to write about something dear to us, but deciding when – if or how – to publish those details when others are involved is precarious at best.
Krakauer is a skilled writer and I feel he presents himself as “truthfully” as he possibly can given the magnitude of the tragedy that he is writing about. I’d highly recommend this book for anyone.
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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m surprising myself by giving the second in a series of books a 5 when I think I gave the first one in the set a 4.
I found the first in the Hunger Games series to be a tad predictable and I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the protagonist. I think Katniss is more real in the second book and there were moments that actually surprise me in the second volume. I found myself entranced even if there were a few sections that seemed a bit over the top. Then again, I’m speaking of a post-apocalyptic series of novels where children have to go to battle each other as tributes so . . .
I’ve seen some pretty varied ratings on the 3rd book in the trilogy, but I’ll definitely read it. I’ll probably have to wait until March when I can borrow again from the Kindle Lending Library. 30 days and only one book? That’s like being a kid and being only allowed to take two books out from the library.
But, hey, it is free.
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Well, I’m back! I can’t argue better than ever because I’ve picked up some kind of cold that has slowed me down the last few days. I do, however, have some news to report in so here we go!
- A poem that was inspired by class, a storm, and reading rainbow was published in The Monarch Review
- I notified Folded Word Press that the remaining copies of the limited edition version of my chapbook The Wait of Atom were spoken for (you may see one last giveaway soon!) and they did a write-up about that. There is still a version available for purchase for $5 as well as the electronic version.
- There are some details now in the Salisbury Post about the Fine Arts & Literary Festival that is held at the school where I teach. The event listed as “sci-fi and poetry writing” actually will more likely be a release party for my upcoming chapbook “An Amateur Marriage” and the new non-fiction book of my co-worker Dr. Sherry Ginn that deals with the Joss Whedon universe. Awesomeness all around.
- I also have two poems up in “Wild Goose Poetry Review” where I also had the chance to leave a little commentary on each. You can also comment back on those. You may recognize at least one of them from posts here in earlier drafts. The two that are up are Maid and I was 36
- Doesn’t look like I’ll be making it out to Poetry Lincolnton tonight, but I will be speaking as part of a panel next Saturday to share some of my insight about both sides of the classroom (obtaining an MFA and now being a teacher).
In this space there should be a new poem, but – alas – I haven’t heard the call of a poem in a while. I had a few stanzas that I attempted recently, but nothing came together. I just added a new stack of poetry books to my to read pile and I just finished another terrific issue of RATTLE (although the poem I voted for in the contest this year didn’t win – as many of my online friends say – sad panda) so here is hoping the ideas start flowing. I am not feeling in a panic or in a state of writer’s block because I’m still doing some daily journal type free-writes and I do blog as often as I can, but the poet is silent. Perhaps she is working on something I can’t see yet?
I, however, still want to hear from you! What have you been working on? Any good word on submissions and/or publications? Just have something you want to rant about?
My composition students worked on revision this week (learning the difference between re – vision and proofreading) and my British lit students were introduced to some of the Arthur legends. They also had to deal with a somewhat addle brained teacher who was sick for most of the week and who also had to deal with numerous appointments, an office lock that was temporarily broken, and a variety of other minor shifts that made the flow of the week – well – un-zen like.
Here is looking up to next week. Week 7 of the semester filled with Monty Python, reading Referential submissions, and peer review. But, before that, let’s enjoy that weekend
Sorry I’ve been a bit behind on my posting. So behind that I haven’t even had a chance to recap two recent poetry events I was involved with. One was the Couplet Poetry Festival in Wilmington, NC on 2-4-12 and the other was Poetry Hickory on 2-14-12.
There are many wonderful things I could say about the Couplet Festival, but perhaps this Vend-a-Poem machine says it best: it was eclectic.
I had a chance to read poems along with three other terrific poets in a city I’ve always wanted to visit. I then had a chance to work with a poet one-on-one on their poems before a big group of us had a fantastic lunch at the Copper Penny.
Finally I finished up the afternoon with my Truth vs Fact poetry workshop. I had to head back but the festival also had an Open Mike and a release part for an anthology they put together. That was just the first day. That Sunday they had additional workshops.
The second event I had a chance to be a part of was the February edition of Poetry Hickory. Those of you who have been to my blog for a while know how much I LOVE Poetry Hickory. The open mike was fantastic. Reading with the pictured Tony Abbott was AMAZING and I was given free Jasmine tea and a brownie? Yep. Epic.
I’m still in a bit of a poetry writing slump, but being with these fabulous writers did have me composing a few disconnected stanzas. I need to refuel with my poetry people. I desperately missed it an with two gift cards for my birthday that will allow me to buy books? You can tell what I’ll be doing in just a few moments.
I have some other events coming up. They are linked under the appearance tab. I have at least one a month through June. Need a poet? Let me know!