Reach for the Horizon Blog Tour
hosted by Savvy Verse & Wit and Rhapsody in Books
check out the event schedule and details here
Poetry is something I have always wanted to include more of in my reading in order to better appreciate it. So, I decided to seriously take a stab at it this month and will continue to read 10 poetry books by the end of the year (self-challenge).
I have not taken any classes on how to analyze or critique poetry. I find most pieces abstract, vague and emotional-based. So, I decided to comment rather than review on the following books read with a Loved, Liked, OK, DNC (did not connect).
Feel free to let me know in comments if you are participating in National Poetry Month or if you have any poetry reading recommendations.
by Sarah Gambito
Amazon | Goodreads | Website
Electric new verse from the winner of the 2005 Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry.
Both surrealistic and urgently on-point, these boisterous poems comprise an identity crisis in the age of New Media. Sarah Gambito writes with verve on the complicated collision of ethnicity, sex, immigration, and nationality, her playfulness and pop-culture savvy offering cover for her surprise attacks of direct, even confrontational engagement: "Am I frightening you?" she asks. "I'm frightening you. // Good and good and good and good."
by Alex Lemon
Amazon | Goodreads | Website
In Fancy Beasts, the author of Hallelujah Blackout and Mosquito takes on California, the 2008 election, plastic surgery, Larry Craig, wildfires, Wal-Mart, and rampant commercialism — in short, the modern American media culture, which provides obscene foil for his personal legacies of violence and violation.
This pivotal book captures the turning point in a life of abuse, in which the recovering victim/perpetrator puzzles through the paradigm of son-to-husband-to-father. Frenetic, hilarious, and fearless, these poems are a workout — vigorous and raw. Yet they are also composed and controlled, pared down and sculpted, with a disarming narrative simplicity and directness. Even when dealing with toxic content, the point of view is always genuine and trustworthy. This stunning achievement marks Alex Lemon’s best work yet.
by Edith Pattou
Rating: my review
Have a love for drama and poetry? Then this course is a must for you! Throughout this class you will learn about a group of teenagers’ perspectives on an end-of-the-summer prank gone wrong, written in verse. Alcohol, guns and a dare— within minutes, events collide and a group of teenager’s lives are altered forever.
by Sharon Olds
2013 Pulitzer Prize winner
Amazon | Goodreads
Stag’s Leap is stunningly poignant sequence of poems that tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory, and new freedom.
In this wise and intimate telling—which carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending—Sharon Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love’s sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband’s smile to the set of his hip. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable “Stag’s Leap,” “When anyone escapes, my heart / leaps up. Even when it’s I who am escaped from, / I am half on the side of the leaver.” Olds’s propulsive poetic line and the magic of her imagery are as lively as ever, and there is a new range to the music—sometimes headlong, sometimes contemplative and deep. Her unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of the finest, most powerful books of poetry Olds has yet given us.
by Billy Collins
Amazon | Goodreads
Playfulness, spare elegance, and wit epitomize the poetry of Billy Collins. With his distinct voice and accessible language, America’s two-term Poet Laureate has opened the door to poetry for countless people for whom it might otherwise remain closed.
Like the present book’s title, Collins’s poems are filled with mischief, humor, and irony, “Poetry speaks to all people, it is said, but here I would like to address / only those in my own time zone”–but also with quiet observation, intense wonder, and a reverence for the everyday: “The birds are in their trees, / the toast is in the toaster, / and the poets are at their windows. / They are at their windows in every section of the tangerine of earth–the Chinese poets looking up at the moon, / the American poets gazing out / at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.”
Through simple language, Collins shows that good poetry doesn’t have to be obscure or incomprehensible, qualities that are perhaps the real trouble with most “serious” poetry: “By now, it should go without saying / that what the oven is to the baker / and the berry-stained blouse to the drycleaner / so the window is to the poet.”
In this dazzling new collection, his first in three years, Collins explores boyhood, jazz, love, the passage of time, and, of course, writing–themes familiar to Collins’s fans but made new here. Gorgeous, funny, and deeply empathetic, Billy Collins’s poetry is a window through which we see our lives as if for the first time.
HEAR a reading of Trouble With Poetry below.
fyi: Diesel bookstore is celebrating National Poetry Month by posting youtube poetry readings each day. See the complete list of the readings here.