I have a busy week ahead next week so not sure I’ll have time for many blogs, or for much TV (LOL) which is what a lot of these reviews will be.
- Starting with a documentary called The Woman Who Wasn’t There which was interesting, but ended in kind of an odd way. It is a very different take on some of the survivor events around 9-11
- On the book end I finished Packing for Mars via my kindle app. I really enjoy Mary Roach’s book, and this one didn’t disappoint. I love that she asks the questions that you might be thinking about, but are doubtful to ask like – how do astronauts poop in space?
- On the fiction side of things I watched the anime From Up On Poppy Hill which was a lovely period piece.
- I’m continuing to watch the occasional foreign film and most recently it was a Korean one called Castaway on the Moon. I would call it a quirky take on modern consumer life with a love story thrown in.
- On the more TV end of things I watched The Finder which was a show only on for a season before it was canceled, but it was a lot of fun to watch to be honest with you. Which, when I used to discuss movies with a friend several jobs ago who was really into movies, was just big dumb fun to watch.
- I do have a pretty big list of educational type documentaries, but I’m going to shorten the list quiet a bit and just mention the ones that stood out a bit more like Lost Angels about skid row in LA, First Circle about foster care in Idaho, Brooklyn Castle about chess at a NY junior high, The Revisionaries about textbook language used in the Texas school systems, and I could mention more, but I’m having one of those feelings where I want to clear my last.
- So I’m gonna finish with a small movie that I found just a fun watch: Fat Kid Rules the World (even if I did catch two small editing errors, LOL).
That cleans up my list. Maybe I can actually find the time to finish some more books, and other projects now? Who says summer is a “vacation.” What have you guys been up to?
I’m back on the Thursday Poem Schedule so I’m taking down Friday’s poems. I should have poem share up on Thursday next week as well, but it may continue to fluctuate a bit this summer. Stay tuned! Here’s today’s poem.
–poem is out of here
This poem came out of a moment walking at the mall (can you tell! LOL), and I went with it. It has been through several handwritten revisions, and I’m still not quite sure about how the individual stanzas wrap up, or how the ending does. On my last revision I started thinking I might try a revision into a form. Any ideas what form I might have been thinking of? Please feel free to discuss my poem and/or post your own work in progress (any genre) for discussion.
I’m going to mention a few reading items real quick. 1st up is that I finished one big hulk of a book: IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. While this isn’t my favorite of his books it was an interesting read. I found myself marking quite a few places where the book itself was about the act of writing itself.
Next up is The Writer’s Chronicle which has become, over the last year, my go to writing magazine to read. Only problem? Wish it didn’t have such great articles and interviews because now I have another book I want to buy – of course!
Finally I have to mention a great poetry read: Blood Almanac by Sandy Longhorn. I took so many notes while I was reading this book. These poems have a quality to them that makes you want to slow down. I found myself reading and then re-reading. I especially loved to read many of them out loud because Sandy has a great ear for the poem. It is hard for me to pick a favorite so I instead suggest you click through and read the samples on Anihinga’s website, and then maybe pick up a copy?
See you next week everyone!
As of Monday I really didn’t think I would have anything to share with you this week, and then after a long walk on Tuesday there were a few ideas flitting around. The poem is probably the roughest I have ever posted here because I only typed it up on Wednesday, and no revisions have really occurred. Below the poem I will also do something I’ve never done here before (or I don’t think I have): I’m going to share the notes below my poem that I use as I continue to revise.
–time to revise
(Notes: typed from notebook on 5-15-13 at 10:48am. Additional notes say I might need to go back and look at the heroes journey some more. Also the idea of the evil scientist. See if other poems I have written reference the science fair. I have done it before, but posting on blog on 5-16-13 at 9:55am)
So, this is where I am at this week. As always feel free to comment on my poem below and/or to share your own work in progress. One week from today my work (and any posted) will be taken down. I do have a poetry review out this week. I also have a poetry review of “An Amateur Marriage” up on another blog. Do you read/write reviews? Feel free to discuss that as well. I did finish one book this week on my kindle Traci Brimhall’s Rookery which isn’t anything like what I write, but (as in tune with this video I watched recently) I think there is a call to read/write/watch things that aren’t always JUST like your initial inclinations. One of my favorite poems in Traci’s book is “Come Back to Me” where she has the fantastic ending: Come back to me even as you are showing him / your breasts in the cemetery, and because, in truth, / you like the way the moonlight looks on skin.
Read and write on.
I finished quite a few items over the weekend so I thought it was time that I did a mini-review wrap-up again:
- I’ve had this first book on my list for quite a wile. I heard about it in a video I used in class regarding bias. I downloaded the e-book of The Believing Brain, and it took me quite a while to read it. Not that the book isn’t good, but because it is quite dense. There are sections that are quite technical, yet the book is fascinating. It is also separated into a lot of small sections which helps.
- I finished two print poetry books. The first of which is This Country of Mothers by Julianna Baggott which I picked up at AWP. I haven’t read Baggott’s fiction yet, but I’m also looking forward to it. I had one of her other poetry books, and I found her voice unique. I marked a lot of poems in this collection as ones I wanted to re-read. One of my favorites is “After Giving Birth, I recall the Madonna and Child” where Baggott writes about the birth of Jesus being so clean: He’s never purple, blood-stained, / yellowed – like my babies – / from swimming in his own shit. Baggott has quite a few poems that walk this line between being of this world, and the reality of what might come next. A really strong collection.
- Another e-book I completed was a poetry book. I don’t download a lot of poetry books electronically because they sometimes have coding issues where the linebreaks don’t show the way the poet intended (update on this! Start a discussion about e-readers. I explain what happened with my own kindle file). I have to say that this is the case with Ellaraine Lockie’s Coffee House Confessions. Because I’ve read a lot of Ellaraine’s work this did not bother me, but I would suggest going for the print version if you are in the market for this one. I virtually marked quite a few poems from this collection with one of my favorites being “Single at the Second Cup Coffee Shop” where Ellaraine writes: He asks if I’m Carol / A serious man squeezing a paper coffee cup / and smelling like an ad for Calvin Klein cologne / / My denial so devastatingly disappointing / that he dashes straight to his Porsche convertible … etc. I made the linebreaks where I think they would be, but this isn’t how they show up in the book. This was a really great read.
- Back on the print side I finished an issue of the literary magazine Colorado Review. The fiction and non-fiction in this issue were fantastic even when the pieces were long. I was less drawn in by the poetry section which means I’m not sure if I’ll submit to the magazine. I’m not sure I’d be a good fit.
- The last ebook I finished was the second book in Maureen Johnson’s young adult series set in London. The Madness Underneath is a good continuation of the story although it felt a little rushed. I wonder if that happens when you know you are writing a trilogy? Makes me wonder if she wrote books two and three at the same time? I’m still looking forward to the book three release.
- I’m going a little long here, but I only have one more book in my recently read stack so let me squeeze it in. I picked up A Van Jordan’s collection The Homesteader (I think this one is considered a chapbook?) at AWP as well. I love Jordan’s work, and this is a beautifully crafted book inside and out. I’m going to research the speakers that Jordan uses in this collection. How about that for a review: It made me want to study! There are a lot of terrific moments in this collection with one of my favorites appears on page 30 where Jordan writes: To compose the movement of a woman / Taking stairs, presents a problem: Women / In motion, show graceful intent.
I’d love to hear what you guys have been reading as we finish up National Poetry Month here in the us
Before I left for AWP I already had a stack of books that I’d recently purchased, or that had mysteriously made their ways to me. I’ve been gobbling them up since I got back with a new vigor. This means I have maybe one or two books in my unread (or not in progress) stack that wasn’t something I picked up at AWP. And, all of this together means I have some mini-reviews I need to do about the awesome that I’ve been spending time with:
- First up (in order of completion) is rEdlipsticK by Ted Pope. I’ve heard Ted read (or rather perform) a number of times. I’ve even had the honor of being on the same bill with him at a library reading, but for some reason his last visit to Poetry Hickory made me pick up one of his books. Ted, in person, is a force, and maybe that is why I didn’t pick up his books at first: I wasn’t sure that the book would live up to the energy he has at a reading. Well, this book lived up to it. The untitled poems in the collection subtitled “an apocryha” take you into myth, Biblical reference, hints of conspiracy theories, and pop culture. I don’t think my descriptions can do the book justice, but here is a quote: may be / the hashish / was not such a good idea. / i am alone / on the Nile. / the boat has become paper. / w/ prayers written on it. / some in red lipstick.
- Next is Laurel Snyder’s The Myth of the Simple Machines. Often when I’m reading a book of poems I find myself looking for the moment of ars poetica. The moment when a poet drops you a hint of what they think about the act of writing. And, in the case of this book, I think the title of the overall book could serve as an ars poetica because aren’t poems these machines? They look simple, but once you dig in there is so much more to them than just a few lines. Probably my favorite poem was “Happily Ever After” which I don’t want to quote too much from because it has so many great little surprises, but it starts with: The wolf bears down / on the girl, thin in the corner. / His teeth are sharp / / as the shoulder blades beneath them. / Everyone’s hungry.” My only minor note with this one was the prosier poems at the end of the book just didn’t sing as much as the earlier poems, but that is totally just me I’m sure.
- And, already I’m running out of space so I’ll just do one more, and come back to some more I’ve finished in a later post. At the summer UNCC writing project one of my fellow participants told me about Jay-Z’s Decoded. I’m not one to really listen to a lot of rap or hip-hop, but I’m not particularly opposed to it. I liked the idea of digging into a rapper’s mind, and finding out how they went about composing their work. I think passages from this would be terrific to use in the classroom. I read the e-version and I think I might get the print version because reading the footnotes (and there are a lot of them when working with they lyrics) on an ereader became a bit tedious. I took a lot of notes, but one I was particularly drawn to works well with an assignment I’ve given before to discuss whether all poetry can be considered a lyric and vice versa. Jay-Z writes, “It’s been said that the thing that makes rap special, that makes it different both from pop music and from written poetry, is that it’s built around two kinds of rhythm. The first kind of rhythm is the meter. In poetry, the meter is abstract, but in rap, the meter is something you literarlly hear: it’s the beat.” Etc. We could start a whole discussion just off that quote.
I’ll have more upcoming as I continue to devour my stack of books. They all taste so good right now
Get Out of My Crotch: Twenty-One Writers Respond to America’s War on Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health by J. Victoria Sanders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I gave up on writing reviews, or more formal reviews, for a while, but this book made me want to return because I felt it was a terrific example of how to discuss a very weighted topic.
When I teach argument based writing one topic that is off limits is writing about abortion. Why? Well, I could probably go into a large list of reasons, but mainly because the students who chose to write on the issue think it will be “easy” to write about. They pull up a few statistics from Google, and then quote the Bible. They consider this complete.
Most students I’ve encountered (and non-students who try to discuss this) don’t actual engage and consider the issue from a variety of angles. This collection of essays isn’t just on abortion (but most are), and I think it adequately engages the topic with personal stories and up-to-date studies/facts etc.
I like the way the book is designed, and the variety of stories shared. If I have one quibble it might be that the viewpoints could have been a bit more varied. There is one distinctly male voice (and I love that there is a graphic/comic!) although I am happy to see at least one writer that didn’t want to surrender to a specific gender identification. I think it could have also served the book well to see if anyone on the other side of the debate was wiling to jump in. Did anyone try because this is definitely a pro-choice leaning book.
That being said this is a strong collection of modern views on the issues surrounding reproductive rights as well as female health and wellness in general. I’d highly recommend this one as a start. I would love to see other collections that continue the debate.
View all my reviews
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!