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review 2017-06-29 05:47
Booked
Booked - Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander paid a visit to our school this year, and every child received a copy of his book. For some reason I did not jump on this one as quickly as I did The Crossover but that is by no means a telling detail —it just got put in the wrong to-read pile (in the to-read-later, instead of the to-read-now).

 

Reading it this week I was again reminded of how blown away I was reading Crossover. I couldn't put it down, and then, I didn't want it to end. 

 

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review 2017-06-28 21:31
Review: The Sobbing School
The Sobbing School (National Poetry Series) - Joshua M. Bennett,Eugene Gloria

Joshua Bennett is a very intelligent and witty poet. His observations and metaphors are arresting and spot on. His perspective and the subject of many of these poems make him extremely relevant. I recognize the intelligence of these poems.

But these are the kind of poems that make you say, “Hmmmm.” These are poems that send you to Google to conduct research that somehow spirals out of control. These are not bad things, but I personally prefer poems that make me look inside myself, poems that make me ask the deeper questions than any search engine can provide answers to.

Once or twice I was moved while reading The Sobbing School, but mostly I thought, “nice play on words/ideas/etc.” My reaction reminds me of my views on hip-hop, which is relevant as several of the poems in this collection deal with hip-hop culture. I've heard it said that some of the greatest lyricist in hip-hop are those that have the cleverest and most inventive lyrics. MF Doom is one rapper that is often mentioned as one of the greats. Doom is clever, but he has nothing to say. His style is cartoonish and follows no logic. Now, I'm not trying to draw a direct parallel between Bennett and MF Doom, because, frankly, Bennett is clearly reaching for a space in between, where wit and relevance meet. Unfortunately, my mind was so tied up with the logic that I was not in the page emotionally. For better or worse, feeling is what I am looking for in hip-hop and in poetry.

Favorite poem in this collection: “Anthropophobia.” That's one I felt.

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review 2017-06-24 02:48
[REVIEW] Sappho by Sappho
Sappho: A New Translation - Sappho,Mary Barnard,Dudley Fitts
You may forget but

Let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us



Beautiful, painful, evocative, sensual and lush are a few ways to describe Sappho's poetry. Even if we only have incomplete and broken fragments of her poetry, there is no absence of emotion.

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review 2017-06-20 12:37
This Impossible Light!!!
This Impossible Light - Lily Myers

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

Trigger warning: eating disorder.

 

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Ivy's world is in flux. Her dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy's body won’t stop expanding. She's getting taller and curvier, with no end in sight. Even her beloved math class offers no clear solution to the imbalanced equation that has become Ivy’s life.
 
Everything feels off-kilter until a skipped meal leads to a boost in confidence and reminds Ivy that her life is her own. If Ivy can just limit what she eats—the way her mother seems to—she can stop herself from growing, focus on the upcoming math competition, and reclaim control of her life. But when her disordered eating leads to missed opportunities and a devastating health scare, Ivy realizes that she must weigh her mother's issues against her own, and discover what it means to be a part of—and apart from—her family.

 

This book. THIS BOOK!!!
This book totally caught me off guard. Once again it's one of those books that I got from Netgalley, forgot about it and then started reading it without reading the summary again and didn't know what to expect.

 

The book deals with some tough topics but I think, they are handled really sensitive and respectful. The writing was so damn beautiful. Seriously, some of these moments in Ivy's life were so painful but they were written in the most beautiful way.

 

Poetry is my new favorite thing but I only ever read books with lots of different poetry, this time it was a whole book, a whole story. And it was beautiful.
It was super easy to get into, I started the book and pretty soon was half way through it. The characters were wonderful and so fleshed out.

 

Aaaah, I just love this book so much, it made me feel all the things and I highly recommend it.

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review 2017-06-16 06:06
Hero and Leander, Marlowe and Chapman
Hero And Leander - Christopher Marlowe

This poem appears to be a distant ancestor of all those horror films where teen couples die horribly as a consequence of sneaking off to have illicit pre-marital sex. Our cultural obsession with virginity as a symbol of moral purity and an only marginally more subtle form of Patriarchal reduction of the female to property never ceases to amaze me. Yep, it's weaker in the West, now, than it has been historically, but it's still present in some quarters, as evidenced by those same horror movies, and there are many countries where it's still a Really Big Thing that you have to be a virgin on your wedding night. Maybe one day the Middle Ages will come to a close? Don't hold your breathe, though.

 

Marlowe either abandoned this poem incomplete in favour of other projects or died whilst still actively working on it, I don't know which, but either way, he only wrote the first ~1/3 (or less, haven't actually counted the pages) and George Chapman took up the task of completing the story. Unfortunately, on this evidence, Chapman was not nearly as talented as Marlowe - which is more informative than it might seem at face value. See, Marlowe (and all the other Elizabethan-Jacobean playwrights and poets) exists under the enormous and deep shadow cast by Shakespeare, who went from an early career as Marlovian imitator to towering genius of dramatic-poetic expression. What Chapman shows, however, is that the better known contemporaries of Shakespeare, such as Marlowe, Jonson and Middleton were actually talented in their own right - they just had the misfortune to overlap with the best there's ever been by a remarkable stretch. In fact Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays and numerous of these less celebrated authors wrote works that were as good as or better than Shakespeare's weaker efforts. Chapman's mediocrity serves to illustrate that Marlowe was actually excellent - he just had a rival who permanently skewed the chart of dramatic-poetic genius.

 

It's a fun poem, especially at the beginning (Marlowe's bit) and the end (sudden turn to the Tragic), particularly if you like tales of gods and heroes and can swallow the ridiculous moral of the tale.

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