Archive for December, 2009

Blue Moon

My mother used to say, “Once in a blue moon,” and when I was little, I would actually look up into the night sky to see if the moon ever really looked blue.  After all, I grew up in a family that called the Harvest Moon, “Blood Moon” — so why couldn’t the moon look a little blue? I think I was in my teens before I finally found out that the Blue Moon actually means the second full moon in one month.  This doesn’t happen very often, but yes, 2009 will end with a Blue Moon.  I probably won’t see it — it’s cloudy outside and it’s going to snow.  So, for those of you who can see the Blue Moon tonight — take a look for me.  For those of you in the Snow Belt, where we don’t see the moon or the sun that often during the winter months, read Geri Doran’s poem “Blue Moon” (one of my favorite poems of all time!). 

And now that I am here — goodbye to 2009!  Anthony and I had a good year (after a couple of really rocky years), but we realize that so many of our friends and family members had it rough this past year.  I have been using my Winter Break to catch up on my writing and correspondence.  I sent out two submission packets today, and made some progress on my manuscript. I even lived up to Mary’s challenge by writing three new poems.  Am I going to make any resolutions?  No.  Instead, I’m going to set some writing goals for myself.  But for now, Anthony and I are going to celebrate quietly  — and wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

2010: Poetry Collections to Come…

With all this recapping, it’s also nice to look forward to 2010.  Here is a list of poetry collections (books and chapbooks) that will be released (or have been recently released) that I really want to read:

  1. Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room by Kelli Russell Agodon (White Pine Press)
  2. Barefoot and Listening by Margaret Bashaar (Tilt)
  3. I Was the Jukebox by Sandra Beasley (Norton)
  4. Saint Monica Mary Biddinger (Black Lawrence Press)
  5. A Classic Game of Murder by Katie Cappello (Dancing Girl Press)
  6. Breach by Nicole Cooley (LSU Press)
  7. The Least of These by Todd Davis (Michigan State UP)
  8. The Devastation by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Cooper Dillon)
  9. Bobcat Country by Brandi Homan (Shearsman Books)
  10. The book of small treasures by Christine Klocek-Lim (Seven Kitchens Press)
  11. Ghost Lights by Keith Montesano (Dream Horse Press)
  12. O Body Swayed by Berwyn Moore (Cherry Grove)
  13. Underlife by January Gill O’Neil (Cavankerry)
  14. Diwata by Barbara Jane Reyes (Boa)
  15. Soot by Jeff Walt (Seven Kitchens Press)
  16. Persons Unknown by Jake Adam York (Southern Illinois University Press)

Did I miss anyone?  Does anyone have a book coming out in 2010?  (I do realize that some of the books above have 2009 publication dates — but they were published too late in the year for me to get a hold of them)   Please let me know!

Finally, for those of you on Goodreads — a 2010 Poetry Readers Challenge Group has been started.  The object is to read at least 20 books of poetry in the year 2010 and complete brief reviews of these books.  Please, check it out! You will notice that I have listed books above on my list, but of course, I will read more!

The Year in Review: Best Poetry Collections

In Part Two of  my “Best Of..” posts, I have listed my top 10 full-length poetry collections of the year.  I did not rank them; instead, I only listed them in order by the poet’s last name:

  1.  Temper by Beth Bachman (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  2. Mistaken For Song by Tara Bray (Persea Books)
  3.  Allegheny, Monongahela by Erinn Batykefer (Red Hen)
  4. The Hardship Post by Jehanne Dubrow (three candles press)
  5. Ohio Violence by Alison Stine (U of North Texas Press)
  6. The Brother Swimming Beneath Me by Brent Goodman (Black Lawrence Press)
  7. Perpetual Care by Katie Cappello (Elixir)
  8. Blue Collar Eulogies by Michael Meyerhofer (Steel Toe Books)
  9. Holding Everything Down by William Notter (Southern Illinois University Press)
  10. My Kill Adore Him by Paul Martinez Pompa (University of Notre Dame Press)

I limited myself to ten with the above list, but as we all know, lists are subjective, and if I wrote this list tomorrow, I would probably change my mind. So, I must mention other great collections, some I have professionally reviewed (or will review) for other sites and journals: Midnight Voices by Deborah Ager,  Cradle Song by Stacey Lynn Brown, Wild Rose Asylum by Rachel Dilworth, From the Fever-World by Jehanne Dubrow, Dirt Sandwich by Linda Annas Ferguson, American Fractal by Timothy Green, Dear Apocalypse by K.A. Hays, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl by Karyna McGlynn, Cold Mountain Elementary by Mark Nowak, Bad River Road by Debra Nystrom and Torched Verse Ends by Steven D. Schroeder.

The Year in Review: Best Chapbooks

Yes, I know that I had my first chapbook published this year, but I’m not going to put Stealing Dust on my list.  Instead, I have listed my top 10 chapbook picks of the year in alphabetical order according to poet’s last name.

  1. The Doors of the Body by Mary Alexandra Agner (Mayapple)
  2. Slow the Appetite Down by Michele Battiste (Spire Press)
  3. Spring Melt by Katherine Bode-Lang (Seven Kitchens Press)
  4. Hunger All Inside by Marie Gauthier (Finishing Line Press)
  5. The Beaded Curtain by Megan O’Reilly Green (Spire Press)
  6. Barbed Wire and Bedclothes by Alice Pettway (Spire Press)
  7. Inside Bone There’s Always Marrow by Rachel Mallino (Maverick Duck)
  8. They Speak of Fruit by Gary L. McDowell (Cooper Dillon Books)
  9. In the Voice of a Minor Saint by Sarah J. Sloat (Tilt Press)
  10. Flood Year by Sara Tracey (Dancing Girls Press)

Also, I have to  mention the wonderful In the Kingdom of My Familiar (Tilt Press) by Julie Platt.  This chapbook was published at the end of 2008, but I read it at the start of 2009.  Finally, Notes from the Red Zone by Christina Pacosz was republished by Seven Kitchens Press, and as I mentioned in another post, this chapbook was originally published in 1982 — and it’s back for a new generation to read.

Of course, I must also post a disclaimer — I have a short memory and it’s been a long year, so if you had a chapbook published this past year and I have not read it, or God forbid, I did read your chapbook and I didn’t mention it, please drop me a note.

Holiday Wishes

Anthony and I have been lost in a flurry of before the holiday activities — last-minute shopping, baking, visiting, etc. I wanted to write a more substantial post before Christmas, but I still have tons to do before we get on the road tomorrow.  The weather is going to hold for us, at least for Christmas Eve.  The Weather Channel can’t make up its mind about whether or not we are going to have rain or freezing rain on Christmas.  I’m hoping for rain — Anthony and I need to come back Christmas night because of his work schedule.

Here’s wishing you a safe and happy holiday!

Making the List

On this chilly Monday morning, I’m looking out at the snow, (although I won’t be digging out my car, more like swiping about an inch of snow from the windows — we missed the great Blizzard of 2009!) and reading through Andrew Rihn’s Best Book List of 2009 — where he talks a bit about Stealing Dust!  Thanks so much Andrew for including my chapbook.

CLSC Book Three: Year of Wonders

I haven’t posted about my CLSC books since October, only because I haven’t had time to even look at the CLSC reading list, let alone actually read one of the books.  But now I’m catching up a bit with my reading with Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders, a novel about a small little village in England that quarantined itself during a plague year.  The novel is based loosely on the historical Eyam, and because I like history, I thought I would like to book.  I did.  In spite of the gruesome details and the graphic violence found in the pages, I found drawn to the story and the main character of Anna, who witnesses the demise of her surroundings and records both the best and worst of those around her.  I have read works by Brooks before (including the wonderful and insightful nonfiction book, Nine Parts of Desire), but Year of Wonders makes me want to look up the read of this author’s fiction.

Welcome, Winter Break!

Papers are graded, final grades are in.  I’m not officially on break, quite yet — tomorrow I will go in and clean my office, but then I am free for three weeks.  I do plan on making this winter break a working break — that is finish some poems, write some reviews, and get my manuscript ready so it can go out into the world in 2010.

In the meantime, I will also be catching up on all my reading, especially a few early Christmas presents (poetry books, of course) that came in the mail today.  I also have a small stack of books about writing pedagogy that I want to explore.  And speaking of pedagogy, I know that the Internet has been flooded with December sales, but I found one bargain that can’t be beat.  Check out Teachers & Writers Collaborative, which is having a sale — $8 per book — during the month of December.  I’ve already put my order in.

800 Pages

Anthony did the math.  I have read over 800 pages of student work this weekend, in the form of creative writing portfolios.  Because these are all revised pieces, I’m not reading new work, but still, wow.  My brain is a bit foggy right about now.

Finals Week is coming up.  Grades are due on Friday by noon.  Blogging will be a bit sporadic.

Snow Day

So, the Lake Effect Snow has drifted south of Buffalo and has landed here.  JCC has closed for the rest of the day, so I am at home, with a pile of creative writing portfolios to read.  That may sound a bit daunting, but by this time of the semester, I know my CW students pretty well, so it’s not so bad.  For all of you teachers, instructors, and professors out there, you may want to take a look at Jehanne’s most recent post, which is a short note about what all college students should know about their professors.

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