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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“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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“Because entrances! Audacity! Breakdowns! The hots!”

Delighted to end 2015 with a poem of mine about the TV show Empire published in The Broken City’s “Remotely Controlled” TV issue (#17), which you can read online or download. It begins,

Because Cookie punched BooBooKitty right in the damn face
then 40 seconds of ohhellno awyeah on a red pool table!

(The poem uses up my entire lifetime’s allotment of exclamation points but it did seem, given the subject, an appropriate place to put them all at once…)

This caps off a lovely 2015 for me from a reading and writing perspective, with a grand independent bookstore adventure and library book bingo fun, and poems published in FIELD, The Operating System, and The Human. And I even survived the rampant Seahawks fans of my new city.  I only managed six of my supposed-to-be-monthly posts this year, but that just gives me an easy new year’s resolution.

Happy new year!

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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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