Category Archives: I Like

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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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.

Continue reading

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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.

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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Last-Minute Recommendation + A Few More Old Christmas Books

First, a quick last-minute recommendation for that english major/college professor type on your list: Srikanth Reddy’s Readings in World Literature. I picked it up while attending a lecture by Reddy in Seattle (in which I learned, among other more intellectual things, that Hermann Rorschach, of the inkblots, was totally hot.)

Readings in World Literature is a fabulous chapbook of short prose pieces delving into questions of the underworld and meaning while satirizing academia with aplomb. It comes in the form of notes written by a professor teaching a course in the humanities described thusly: Continue reading

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Thanks 2015

Thanks for poetry, thanks for places to hear about new poetry, thanks for bookstores, thanks for booksellers.

My job, for which I am of course also thankful, has been inordinately time- and focus-intensive of late so not that much reading of poetry (not to mention writing of or about poetry) has snuck in through the cracks, but that just makes the force of coming across a good poem all the sweeter.

Here are a few poems I’ve read in the past few weeks that have struck me like a tractor beam — not necessarily about gratitude per se, just ones for which I myself am giving thanks for having read today: Continue reading

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“Magnitude and bond”

For this month’s Famous People poem, Gwendolyn Brooks’ “Paul Robeson” and “Of Robert Frost” (because just one Gwendolyn Brooks poem at a time isn’t enough. Also I’ve missed a few of this supposed-to-be monthly series).

I had to wake up super early last Sunday morning, which I wasn’t that thrilled about, but when my radio came on it happened to wake me up with the sound of Gwendolyn Brooks’ amazing voice, and then I didn’t mind so much. (A BBC show not currently available online, alas). Her delightful presence and dynamic reading voice even on old somewhat scratchy recordings is just phenomenal—I would have loved to hear her in person.

Here she is reading her most-anthologized poem “We Real Cool” (and explaining that she sort of wishes she were also known for writing other poems) so you have a taste.

Brooks wrote about regular people (“Gay Chaps at the Bar“, “The Bean Eaters” for e.g.) with great compassion and insight, and she wrote about some famous people too with her remarkable precision and verve. Here are two, “Paul Robeson” and “Of Robert Frost“. They’re both short portraits, focused, the Frost poem’s lines lines long but with short, blunt sentences, with the wonderful detail of his eyebrows “neither too far up nor down.” The Robeson lines and sentences contract and swell, and wind up on one of my favorite phrases in Brooks’ poems, “we are each others’ / magnitude and bond.”

(After reading “Paul Robeson” you will undoubtedly want to revel in his famous voice a while. Here he is singing for workers at the in-progress Sydney Opera House, and here being interviewed about civil rights.)

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Poetry Suggestions for Summer Book Bingo

As promised, a list of a few suggestions for poetry collections that satisfy the Seattle Public Library & Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Summer Book Bingo squares:

You Finish Reading in a Day

Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop — only 10 poems, and some of her best. (Also works for Published Year You Were Born if you were born in 1976.) “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

Woodnote, Christine Deavel —an utterly lovely book. It brings you right in and doesn’t let you go, in ways you possibly don’t expect. Also works for Local Author; she is co-owner of Open Books in Wallingford. “caraway     caraway”.

From Your Childhood

Shel Silverstein — “listen to the mustn’ts, child”. Continue reading

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Father Time and Mother Earth / A Marriage on the Rocks

For this month’s look at a poem about a famous person, James Merrill’s “The Broken Home

I love this sonnet sequence, James Merrill’s elegant, rueful, beautiful take on his childhood and his parents. This is a different angle on a famous person poem than the others I’ve pointed to so far this year, since Merrill is talking about himself and his family rather than a far-off celebrity, but since his father was the Merrill of Merrill Lynch and since the poet himself is one of the 20th century biggies, it counts.

I first heard “The Broken Home”, rather than read it, Continue reading

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