Some reading for this week

Links to a few poems for this week (and the week before that, and the week before that, and…) plus a list of suggestions from Black Lives Matter activists for what white people like me can do, to do more than just feel stuck in feeling this is all awful and not knowing what else to do. Black lives matter. Black voices matter, and should be heard. Listening/reading is a place to start. These are powerful poems. Would that they weren’t so topical (or in the case of the Gwendolyn Brooks poem—which was written in the 1970s—so perpetually topical).

Bullet Points” by Jericho Brown

I will not shoot myself
In the head, and I will not shoot myself
In the back, and I will not hang myself
With a trashbag, and if I do,
I promise you, I will not do it
In a police car while handcuffed
Or in the jail cell of a town
I only know the name of
Because I have to drive through it
To get home. […]

Read the rest of “Bullet Points

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How to Go All Poetry for #BookBingoNW2016

Suggestions for books of poetry and books by poets for all the #BookBingoNW2016 squares

Well except the Re-Read, Recommended by a Librarian, and You’ve Been Meaning to Read squares of course, but totally including Non-Fiction, Short Stories, and Novel.

It’s Summer Book Bingo time again! The awesome Seattle Arts & Lectures + Seattle Public Library summer reading fun for grown-ups*.  And you don’t have to live in Seattle to play along and stretch your reading wonts a bit. 

If you want to read poetry for more than just the Poetry Collection square, here is a list of suggestions for collections and books by poets that’ll X off this year’s squares, compiled with some brainstorming help from poets Joannie Stangeland (who you could read for Local Author), Alexandar Moysaenko (who works at Open Books: A Poem Emporium) and Billie Swift (soon-to-be-owner of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, where you can of course both pick up these books and get recommendations for lots more).

#BookBingoNW2016

*Click on the image for more info, and to download a square to get started!

COOKBOOK OR FOOD MEMOIR

Seasoning: A Poet’s Year by David Young is a beautiful book, and I often give it as a gift. David Young is a fine, fine poet whose other books (and there are many) I recommend highly. In Seasonings he combines memoir, poetry, food writing, nature writing, and recipes organized by month to talk about place,  time, loss, sustenance, and cycles of all kinds of seasons. Joannie and Billie both immediately thought of A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo which is described as combining “high art, pop culture, practical resource, and fantasy zodiac to make a collection of facts both real and imagined about pie” which sounds awesome. Also The Immigrants Table by Mary Lou Sinnelli—from Madeleine DeFrees’ blurb: “In this collection, Mary Lou Sanelli brings poems out of the ivory tower, straight to the family dinner table. No fast-food substitutes here, as the poet recreates a culture in which food preparation is a cherished ritual. Sanelli’s clear-eyed, yet loving, awareness of family members’ foibles, including her own, provides the reader with a menu that nourishes both body and spirit, a gourmet treat for the imagination.”

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One and Only One Salient Characteristic, Scrubblement, All the Colors

First an update: one hundred and eighteen . . . people who went to seventeen or more bookstores for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day last week! 118! (Last year it was 42.) !!!.  And that’s only how many people went to all of ’em. No word yet on how many folks went to three or more and entered the drawing for gift certificates, but I’m sure many. 

What’s Making Me Happy This Week: A Books Edition
Being a Short Compendium of Links to Things You Too Might Like

Book Plates of To-Day (To-day = 1902). After all:

An artistic book-plate is the expression in decorative illustration of the proprietor’s tastes, made by an artist who has sympathetically realized the feeling intended. It should objectify one, and only one, salient characteristic, either of temperament, habit, disposition, or pleasure, of its owner. If it does less, it is not individual; if it does more, it is not satisfying.

I’m sure you concur.

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Horror book covers by Edward Gorey*. Continue reading

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day Adventures: The Sequel

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day did it again! Such a festive day for all us ‘Willpower in a bookstore? What’s that like?’ folks to celebrate, support, and enjoy the excellent indie bookstore scene we’ve got here.

My mom and I went for it again—we took the challenge and went to 17 indie bookstores yesterday so we are Seattle Independent Bookstore Day Champions once more! (And can continue to get that lovely 25% off for another year.)

Here’s a recap of our adventures:

25 passport IBD2016

Ta-da! My completed passport for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day 2016.

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“It is dark speckled. An airstrip? A cemetery?”

Today is the day (I just read in Tom Nissley‘s A Reader’s Book of Days over my morning cereal) that Elizabeth Bishop met Marianne Moore and vice-versa, a fitting prompt for this month’s Objects poem—”12 O’Clock News” by Elizabeth Bishop. 

*If you have New Yorker access, you can read it in a nicer online format here. But it’s also in Geography III and of course her Complete Poems, and what the hell are you doing being alive and not having Bishop’s Complete Poems at hand anyhoo? 

This is a very writer’s writer’s piece, and I’d not argue it’s her bestest ever, but the elements of her voice that encompass wryness-of-the-self, and a bit of that which I affectionately call cheesiness, but really is a flavor of sentimentality*, and at last and best her humor, are throughout so it’s a refreshing read now and then. Continue reading

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Dear Genius – Ursula Nordstrom

Thanks to Phinney Books’ newsletter recommendation, I picked up Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (ed. Leonard S. Marcus), which is one of the most delightful books I’ve read in a while. As Phinney Books put it, Nordstrom in these letters is “a hoot”. She’s tart, warm, witty, supremely intelligent, and as the introduction puts it, these letters create “an artfully drawn, unfailingly vivid character named Ursula Nordstrom, a literary persona by turns leonine and Chaplinesque, cocksure and beguilingly off-balance.”

She seems like someone whose letters I’d like if they were all just about New York City weather and disliking Nixon, but Nordstrom was writing to and about the children’s book authors she published as director of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940-1973 — names like Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, John Steptoe, Margaret Wise Brown, Kay Thompson, and books like Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, Harriet the Spy, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Bedtime for Frances, The Giving Tree…the list of phenomenal classic books she brought to us all goes on and on. Continue reading

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April 30th – MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Details TBD but I have been assured by some in-the-know booksellers that it will again be EPIC in Seattle.

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Flashback to last year’s Seattle Independent Bookstore Day adventures, if you need a little reminder of how big Seattle does Independent Bookstore Day! But fret not if you’re outside the Emerald City limits, there ARE a lot of independent bookstores out there. Find yours here. Or, if you’re in Canada and call it Authors for Indies Day, here.

CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Coffee, Space Posters, Coffee, Space Western, Coffee, Sweater Weather

Some Link To Some Things You Might Like

The Steve Martin episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

This free-to-download series of 14 super-cool WPA-esque space travel posters from NASA.

mars  grand_tourenceladus

Coffee” by the late Wendy Battin  (part of the Contemporary American Poetry Archive of some out-of-print books preserved in their entirety online.)

Coffee, black coffee. How are my nerves?
The first cup is steady, the second
still as a pond in a cave.
The third begins to stir in my hand,
small mammal at the end of hibernation.

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“Such queer moons we live with”

For February’s Objects poem, I point you to Sylvia Plath’s “Balloons” from 1965’s Ariel.

I love the piling on of descriptions of balloons in this poem, “Guileless and clear, / Oval soul-animals”, “queer moons”, “Traveling / Globes of thin air”. Sometimes I’m not sure what to make of the stanza that goes off sideways, leaves the living room, the long simile about a peacock feather “beaten in starry metals”, except that it is as delightful, she’s right.

And note all the sound texture, all the “l”s in the first stanza (lived, guileless, clear, oval soul-animals, half, silk) and then again in the 3rd and 4th (walls, travelling, globes, delighting, like, blessing, metals, small). Continue reading

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Oh 1987, O Little Man at the Foot of My Bed, O’Keefe’s Studio, Oh Hamlet Off-Stage

Some Links To Some Things I Thought You Might Like

David Bowie’s reading list

David Bowie’s 1987 READ library poster, re-issued!

Hamlet Off-Stage, Don’t Country This Snapper” by D.C. Berry in Rattle

Rambeau de la Snapper
rides high, ten-horsepower blitzblade whirling,
the mindlessness more pleasant than even madness.

Pictures of famous artists in their studios (I want either O’Keefe’s or Christo’s) Continue reading

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