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review 2018-04-17 18:29
How to awaken the heart: an instruction manual
How to Love the Empty Air - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

My pals over at Wunderkind PR sent me a copy of today's book and asked that I give an honest review. Spoiler alert: I said yes. :-)

 

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is a collection of poetry which primarily focuses on her relationship with her mother (also a writer) and the grief she experienced after her death. Please don't think it's all doom and gloom and buckets of tears (although there is that too) because she also delves into the pockets of happiness that can be found amidst the overwhelming sadness of losing someone so dear. Cristin speaks to that part of the heart that is attuned to the people in our lives who get us so completely that even the idea that they might not be there pulls the air from one's lungs. From her poem "O Laughter" comes this gem: Sometimes the pain bursts out of me like a flock of starlings. Perfection! If I had to express this book in graph form it would be a steep incline immediately followed by a steep decline and finished off with a steady incline that disappears off the side of the page. Simply put, this is an absolutely lovely little book with beautiful prose and if it doesn't stir your heart I wonder if you even have one. 10/10

 

PS I'd also like to note that 1. I loved the finish on this book. It's like that velvety feeling that some books have and it was an absolute treat to hold it. 2. I enjoyed Cristin's book so much that I'm actively looking to read her other works (including a nonfiction book).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-04-09 18:31
Starting National Poetry Month with a bang
Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

I'm cognizant of the fact that I don't read enough books by women of color and that I read very few works of poetry. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by reading Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. (Also, it's National Poetry Month so it was a no-brainer.) This book is especially relevant right now with the state of our world being what it is: a shambles. Citizen is essentially Claudia's exploration of what it is to be a black woman living in America as told through poetic verse. It is beautiful, tender, terrible, tragic, and real. She doesn't shy away from such topics as police brutality or the prevalence of feeling like an outsider. This book is a personal revelation and a public admonishment all rolled into one neat package Coupled with her verses are historical quotes and pencil drawn (I think?) artwork. What better way to begin your foray into poetry than by reading a book that challenges the status quo and speaks from the heart? If you'd like to maybe see the world through a different set of eyes Citizen is your golden ticket with many stops along the way. 9/10

 

I made a note of this quote on page 89 to give you an idea of just how powerful her words are:

 

Those years of and before me and my brothers, the years of passage, plantation, migration, of Jim Crow segregation, of poverty, inner cities, profiling, of one in three, two jobs, boy, hey boy, each a felony, accumulate into the hours inside our lives where we are all caught hanging, the rope inside us, the tree inside us, its roots our limbs, a throat sliced through and where we open our mouth to speak, blossoms, o blossoms, no place coming out, brother, dear brother, that kind of blue.

 

What's Up Next: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-04-07 16:27
NaPoWriMo Update

We're a week into April (and it just got cold and snowy again where I live: April is the cruelest month), which means I'm a week into National/Global Poetry Writing Month, and it's time for an update.

 

I've successfully drafted a poem each day: hooray! I made a note to myself early on that I would suppress my perfectionism and edit after this whole month is done. Yesterday was the first day when I really felt the poem was crap, but I already have thoughts on how to at least make it okay. Other than that, it hasn't been much of a challenge to write every day. On the one hand, that's great; on the other, it shows me how lazy I tend to be otherwise!

 

I also vowed to post about poetry I'm reading. Since I was unfamiliar with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith's work, I found some online, read a poem evoking David Bowie (I'm a big fan), and promptly ordered two books, Wade in the Water (just released) and Life on Mars, which won the Pulitzer.

 

Here is a link to the poem I read, from Life on Mars.

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text 2018-04-01 19:40
NaPoWriMo

So November (I think?) is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I've just learned about and decided to participate in National (or Global) Poetry Writing Month (April is national poetry month in the U.S.) where the aim is to write a poem a day. Wish me luck! I am generally undisciplined and not very prolific as a poet. I figure even if I don't end up writing one for every day, I'll still write a bunch. It will be more new poems than I had on March 31st. I already wrote one today.

 

But how about also making it National Poem Reading Month? I try to always be reading poetry regularly, but most folks don't. I'm still reading Szymborska's collected and last poems. I'd be psyched to know others were reading a poem a day!

 

I'll do my best to post some lines from what I'm reading. If there's a national poetry month where you live, I'd welcome similar posts whenever that is.

 

Also, here is a link to an NPR interview with the current American Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith (whose poems I am excited to read for the first time this month), who discusses the value of poetry, especially in our rough global times.

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text 2018-03-25 17:25
Reading progress update: I've read 65 out of 160 pages.
The Earliest English Poems - Michael Alexander,Various

Waldere: only fragments remain in Anglo-Saxon but the story is known from sources in other languages.

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