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.
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
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.
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.)
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.)
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 “Thanks 2015”
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.”
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”.