Category Archives: Poetry

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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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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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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“They are bad boats and they hate their anchors”

Objects. Simple, inanimate, quotidian, and when looked at with intimate focus, the subject of some of the works of art I love best.* So, for 2016’s monthly series*, the topic will be: objects. And I’m kicking it off with a look at Laura Jensen’s poem “Bad Boats” from her (out of print but find-able) collection of the same name. 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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