Seattle Independent Bookstore Day and a Titch More

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is April 29th!!! (three exclamation points at the very very least.) Hope to see you out there — yes my mom and I will be doing the whole shebang again together. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read 2015 and2016 ‘s recaps then go see what’s happening in your neck of the woods on the 29th).

I also highly recommend you read these:

Jane Hirschfield, On the Fifth Day

Bob Hicock’s We’ve Come a Long Way Toward Getting Nowhere

Alex Dmitrov’s The Moon After Election Day

And look at these:

Chronophotography of birds in flight from a project called Ornitographies — they’re somethin’ else.

 

1 Perfect Title, 2 Oof Endings, and some other fun

The mix this week: two poems with hella amazing endings, one with a perfect title, a cool website devoted to black history (including in the West), and for fun some “The Future that Liberals Want” meme and french bulldogs in sweatshirts on a couch.

Ghazal, the Dark Times” by Marilyn Hacker begins:

Tell us that line again, the thing about the dark times…
“When the dark times come, we will sing about the dark times.”

and includes this stanza, so delicious to read aloud and an excellent use of “bling”:

Naysayers in sequins or tweeds, libertine or ascetic
Find a sensual frisson in what they’d call bling about the dark times.

and after much more like that ends with this gut punch reminder:

You come home from your meeting, your clinic, make coffee and look in the mirror
And ask yourself once more what you did to bring about the dark times.

Read the whole thing. Continue reading

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More Than Poetry and Poetry More Than Ever

Well! It’s been a while. Some things have happened in the world. I’ve been (making calls and protesting and writing and drawing and working and reading and) trying to figure out what I can do here that’s useful to the things I care about right now. My friend Joannie Stangeland texted, on election night, “We’re gonna need more than poetry and we’re gonna need poetry more than ever.” And Matthew Zapruder put it this way:

“Poets, if you find yourselves worrying that your poems are not “about” political matters, here is my suggestion: every single time you feel that worry, finish your poem, make it as beautiful as you can, and then do some kind of concrete action. Support threatened communities, or the environment. Pledge yourself to participating in a voter registration drive. Give money to a political organization working tirelessly for change. If you do this, the world will benefit in two ways: from your activism, and from the beautiful poem you have made.”

A mix, in other words.

So here’s a mix. Continue reading

Recommendations from My Summer Book Bingo Reading

Summer’s over in Seattle: it’s gone all cool and drizzly except sometimes, I now want to eat things with lots of cinnamon, and I turned in my Book Bingo card. I didn’t quite make it to a full Blackout this year by the Labor Day deadline, alas, but got a couple bingos in there. Here’s a rundown of what I read (typed, to save you from my squinting at my handwriting and saying “huh…?”) with quick thumbs up thumbs down recommendations.

summerbookbingo2016

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Erasure Poems

I got really into doing erasure/blackout poems in July. I’d never tried them before really, but I was doing a 30-poems-in-30-days challenge with some friends, and wanted to participate more days of the month than not—but I didn’t have the poetry-emergy-wherewithal to write from scratch everyday. Blackout poems, I discovered, were a really fun and rewarding way to still participate in the making of poetry without having the burden of the totally blank page.

I’ve gotten quite into it, and have some larger erasure projects in mind for the winter when being outside isn’t so tempting. But in the meantime, I’m thoroughly enjoying the occasional foray of taking a Sharpie to a magazine. Entertainment Weekly is surprisingly fecund (though Us Weekly is not), and Money Magazine, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest and House Beautiful work well. The New Yorker’s vocabulary of course makes it a fantastic source too (and now I finally know what to do with all those years-old New Yorkers I am never going to get around to reading!). But the most fun was definitely the night I used the King County Voters pamphlet.

Here are a few of the ones I did in July that I like best. (Click on the images to see them larger). Enjoy!

doppelgangers_CBull
emotion_CBull

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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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