First off, some people will say you shouldn’t do it. But, if you are around the writing world enough and aren’t a complete jerk, don’t you end up with a lot of writing friends? Why shouldn’t I want to talk about their books? It can be an icky think if, perhaps, you don’t go ahead and say – Hey, I know this person really, really well. Or, if you give praise for a book you don’t actually like just because they are your friend. It is a slippery slope. With that being said today I am going to talk about books from several of my friends.
- First up is Collin Kelley’s poetry collection Render from Sibling Rivalry Press. You know I love a book that looks gorgeous inside and out, and Collin’s newest poetry collection does not disappoint on that front. It’s a book you want to read just from how gorgeous the design is, and the poems do not disappoint. I often say that a chapbook should have an overarching theme it if wants to be successful. I’m less focused on that with a full-length collection, but Collin does a great job playing off the word render throughout the book. These poems are raw, raunchy at times (in the best of ways), and very real. Hard for me to pick a favorite, but one I found myself circling is towards the end of the book “Broken Things” starts with: My mother hovers now, whipping this world / with damaged blades, her selective amnesia // is rudderless, requires a stabilizing hand / from my father, the elephant who never forgets.
- Next on this list is Maureen Sherbondy’s collection Eulogy for an Imperfect Man. I’ve read most (if not all) of Maureen’s poetry books, and this is (of course – look at the title) a book that is working its way through grief, but it is also a very distinctive book on Maureen’s path as a poet. Not only is she tackling a major life change with the death of her father, but many of the poems in this collection have a more lyric turn to them than what I considered Maureen’s regular narrative voice which is also still present in this book. The title poem is particularly poignant. I’m on this journey right now, and Maureen captures it so well when it comes time to write a eulogy or an obituary for the imperfect person (after all, aren’t we all imperfect?): My brother stands up, / reads from the carefully worded speech, / struggle visible on his face. / He sticks to the facts like dots / on a map. We travel with him.
- And finally I want to mention a non-poetry book from a long-time friend who is a dedicated scholar and poet. Dr. Tara Powell’s PhD thesis turned academic book The Intellectual in Twentieth Century Southern Literature isn’t a light-weight read, but I loved how Tara’s voice still came through as she chronicled the books she loved. The premise of the book comes to a question I have had at times as well: what does it mean to have an academic/creative life? Is this a valid life pursuit? Tara examines that issue through her field of study, Southern Literature, and I find myself continuing to do the same through my poems as well as my new attempts at academic writing myself. I read this as an ebook, and I particular enjoyed clicking over to funny and informative footnotes.
So this cleans off my to review list – for now – but I have several books in progress, and who knows what I will take with me on a short family trip to Ohio
This will be my fourth year participating in the Poetry Book Giveaway. If you want to see what I gave away in previous years here are the links to 2010, 2011, and 2012. You don’t have to be a published author to participate. If you want to see the full guidelines stop by Susan Rich‘s blog. You can also find the list of people participating so you can enter for a chance to win on a number of websites.
This year I am giving away a copy of my latest chapbook An Amateur Marriage which came out in 2012 from Finishing Line Press. It was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. If you click through on the name you can read more about the book, reviews, find other places to purchase it (if you don’t win!), view a book trailer or sorts, and even read some sample poems. This book is not available as an eBook.
I really wanted to also give away an ebook even though I don’t read many poetry books on an ereader – yet, but I found it difficult to find one of my favorites. I just went back through my list on Goodreads (which I have started again! I might regret it later!) and decided I’d like to give away an eversion of Sally Keith’s The Fact of the Matter.
And finally It is extra hard for me to decide what I will give away as a great current or previous read in print, but I think this year I want to give away something by Tracy K. Smith and I’ve decided that I’ll do Life on Mars. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these reads, and I hope you’ll find at least one that you’d want to enter for a chance to win.
To enter for a chance to win any of these books all you have to do is leave a comment between now and April 30th at Midnight EST. The first week in May I will then pick and notify the winners. You don’t have to show your email in the comment, but make sure you include it when you list your name for the reply so at least I see it! Note which book you’d rather win (again noting the second will only be awarded as an ebook), and if more than one in what order.
Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.
Hello my friends! Today really feels like a new year for me, or at least I am treating it that way since my 37th year was a bit of a bear. Come on 38 (yep, today is my birthday for those who didn’t know already) you have to be awesome.
I was thinking the other day that if I took those two numbers in my age 3 and 8 and added them together you’d get 11 which had me thinking: what was I like at 11? The poem I’m sharing today has nothing to do with that, but I think that is an interesting writing prompt. Feel free to try the same thing with your age.
Instead the poem below is an example of an idea melding with some research. What do you think I was researching versus what I might have already known? What am I guessing at and/or questioning? Just some questions I ask myself as I continue trying to revise these poems that seem to have a mind of their own. You can of course discuss my poem and/or share your own work in progress (any genre) which will be taken down a week from today.
–And the poem is all covered up
Speaking of research, as I write this I am continuing to work on my AWP presentation, but in between that work I have critiques to work on and other lovely things to share. How about Christin Rice inviting me to write about change for her blog? She wants to share more stories so if you think you have a good one about change you may want to stop by her blog and inquire.
Also on the research and writing end I finished a critical exploration of science fiction and fantasy as edited by my former colleague and friend Dr. Sherry Ginn and Michael G Cornelius. It has a great title: The Sex is Out of This World I wasn’t familiar with all of the books, movies, and shows they were discussing, but it was still an engaging read (OK I skimmed a few that I didn’t know as much about) especially (and here is another possible writing prompt) the idea of being the alien invisible. This falls often under queer theory, but I think of that TV show “V” that they recently remade – when the aliens look just like you . . .
PS – Just received a rejection slip so that’ll keep you humble! I’m still writing away and I submitted some poems this week so onward!
Apparently it is a blogging kind of week for me. Gonna do a quick set of mini-reviews, thoughts on what I’ve been reading/watching, and then get back to revising work to post tomorrow for Thursday Poem Share!
- I’ve had a subscription to Yoga Journal before. Even one on my kindle which I didn’t really like, but I was gifted a new subscription. Yay! Nice first issue with some good articles including this quote from Kelly McGonigal, PhD and author of The Willpower Instict, “Any resolution you make (that is) motivated by shame is a fundamental rejection of what is true right now. It cannot work.” That is a really compelling quote that I said OF COURSE when I first read it, but I think it depends on how you see the world. Some people need that moment of shame before they will change. Thoughts?
- I also watched a (A)sexual, a documentary and what was most interesting to me about it was watching the LGBT communities reaction to people who said they were asexual. They were often kind of dismissive. Even in a marginalized community there are still some who can not see when they are marginalizing other people. Another thought provoking one.
- Speaking of magazines I finished another terrific issue of RATTLE which I subscribe to. I note it is also on Kindle now. Hmm. Maybe I should try sending a sample to see if I like it. As mentioned above, I haven’t had good luck reading magazines on edevices for some reason. Just doesn’t feel the same.
- A while back we also watched the documentary Everything or Nothing. I thought this was going to be more of a clip show about the Bond series since the newest film just came out, but it is actually quite interesting. The link will tell you more about it. I haven’t seen a lot of the classic Bond movies, but I enjoyed my brother talking about them on Facebook recently. They had picked up the box set and were going through and watching them all. Maybe someday.
- Speaking of classics. I went back and watched a few episodes of Classic Doctor Who on Netflix. They have limited footage of each of the doctors. Shame that not all of the episodes exist. One of my favorite student papers was one that argued which doctor was the best. I have to agree with their final premise that it is hard to say that your first doctor (the one you first watched) isn’t the best because they were your first.
- And since I’m finishing up with a sci-fi bent let’s throw in one more movie. I also watched the new Dredd movie off of VuDu. I actually liked the one that Stallone was in years ago as well although I’ve never read the comics. This movie plays off of many of the common current sci-fi tropes, but was still a good watch. Yes, it is really violent and a serious R rating. You have been warned
Well that just about empties out my review list, although I have a chapbook I’ll tell you about tomorrow, and maybe I’ll finish one of my Kindle novels tonight so we can discuss writing along with sharing our work. See you there!
Well, a lot can happen in a week. Not particularly much was happening with my pen and poems, but I did reach closure on one thing: my 3rd poetry manuscript. I have it out to several places, but then I did receive an acceptance. I debated whether or not to wait for other places I had submitted the book to, but I just kept feeling this would be a good fit so the 3rd book will be out in 2014 from Aldrich Press. Yay! Which also means I won’t be submitting any of the individual poems anymore. Whew. Maybe that will get me creating new stuff?
I do have one draft for you guys. This is really early on, but I’d appreciate any discussion you guys want to have with it. I’ll keep it up for one week, and anything you guys post in comments I’ll also keep up for one week so let’s discuss.
–off to revise and/or submit that poem
Besides the above I’m off and on working on a memoir/personal essay idea around the DNA test I sent out. It isn’t back yet, but just the idea of it has me writing a bit. I’m also reworking some of the lessons for the next online workshop Follow Your Rabbit which will start on February 18th. That class may actually be one I can run any time of the year and more one-on-one. I hate to be secretive about how it will work, but I want to surprise those who take the workshop! (You can sign up anytime.) I also think the lessons for the class may eventually turn into the creative writing textbook I always thought I might put together. We shall see.
In between these items I’m apparently getting over the flu, reading two manuscripts that were submitted to me for critique, working on my AWP presentation, and starting to plan what I might attend at AWP which is now only 6 weeks away! Time flies.
Looking forward to hearing what you guys have been up to. Also don’t forget that Referential is still open till 2-3-13 for featured consideration and year round for referred submissions. We’d love to read some of your work
Since 2009 I’ve compiled a holiday shopping guide of sorts for readers/writers based on some of my favorite items that I’ve read from the year (or from even further back…). You can look over 2010 and 2011 as well. First up is my favorite
Full Length Poetry Collections:
I’m – of course – leaving out lots of great things, and I’m not in my house to look through my shelves and suggest books I’ve read in previous years that may not have made this years list, but I hope these help! Happy sharing words
Sorry I didn’t get to the Tuesday blog post. I may write more about why I didn’t get there, but not today. To make up for that I want to mention a couple of quirky movies I watched recently: Drones and Ramen Girl. The subtitle on “Drones’” website says it all: close encounters of the office kind. The second was just a sweet little romantic comedy. Maybe not the best, but I loved seeing the Japanese landscape again.
Not many poems recently so the one I am posting is fairly new. It’s another one in these travel kind of poems I’m trying. The – marks are to show where I plan to put an indentation, but don’t want to hassle with extensive formatting on WordPress today. OK, I’m being lazy, but I do have a lot of grading that I need to do!
–and the poem is down
Looking forward to seeing what you guys have been writing, reading and/or watching as we get caught up around here. I finished Malaika King Albrecht’s first full length collection What the Trapeze Artist Trusts and I give it a highly recommend. These poems so subtly connect to the title and each other that I think this book is a terrific example of how to stealthily construct a collection. I actually have an idea on my idea list to try based on one of the poems in the book so thanks, Malaika!
On a silly side I tried this Me-ality thing at the mall. It is supposed to scan you and give you shopping ideas. Well it gave me one store to shop in and had my pants size off by a WHOLE SIZE so yeah, intriguing but doesn’t seem to really work. At least for me.
Feel free to post works in progress in comments (or links) and join in our weekly discussion of all things involving words. I’ll take down any works in progress, including my own, one week from today