Feminist Slam

Some of my favorite slam poetry fixes come from Button Poetry, founded in 2011 by Sam Cook and Sierra DeMulder, who were shortly joined by Rachele Cermak and Heidi Lear. They launched the first Button website and blog.

Sierra DeMulder was the first to pull me in with her poem “Today Means Amen,” from her poetry book with the same title.

Continue reading “Feminist Slam”

 Languages of Land: Poems of Immigration and Exile

Unaccompanied, you ventured into The Flayed City to find what? More Nomadologies, more Notes on the Assemblage and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.

Before the Afterland, there was that City of Rivers flowing beneath a Night Sky with Exit Wounds.  It was The Other Side of Paradise and, yes, the air tasted of SaltJanuary Children discover that Beasts Behave in Foreign Land[s], especially during the Hour of the Ox.

From Unincorporatied Territory, she arrived to new air brushing against blunt teeth, A Woman Without a Country, at last, arrived. She had Whorled around the world amid weather patterns, patterns of speech, inflections, stutters and lisps Looking for the Gulf Motel. On the tip of her tongue Dhaka Dust and determination. Continue reading ” Languages of Land: Poems of Immigration and Exile”

#BookBingoNW2017: Poetry

Bingo is a game of chance. Take a chance on poetry.

Reading a poem, for some, is akin to entering a country where everybody speaks a language, except the one you know. Poetry can be daunting.  It can, also, be a journey unlike any other.  Take, Josephine Yu’s Prayer Book of the Anxious, for instance. This work leads you into the unfamiliar familiar.  Her language is plain enough but with a twist and spin you’re traveling from the coast, back to third grade, to Wal-Mart only to find Noah’s wife along the way. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2017: Poetry”

Seek the Story

Edward Hopper’s paintings were inspired as well as inspiring. Who could view his moody and spare piece, “Nighthawks,” and not look for a story therein? A recent short story collection, edited by Lawrence Block, called In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, makes that point. In the foreword, Block writes:  “Hopper was neither an illustrator nor a narrative painter.  His paintings don’t tell stories. What they do is suggest—powerfully, irresistibly—that there are stories within them, waiting to be told. He shows us a moment in time, arrayed on a canvas:  there’s clearly a past and a future, but it’s our task to find it for ourselves.” The authors that Block has gathered in this anthology are not your average fly-by-night writers—these ones have big names: Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Robert Olen Butler, to name a few. They all obviously have a ken for Edward Hopper as the depth of this collection demonstrates. Continue reading “Seek the Story”

This Valentine’s Day, Use Your Words!

What truly says “I love you” to your Valentine? A fancy dinner out? Good luck getting a table, or avoiding romantic indigestion as you navigate the desperate crush of other romance seekers. A box of chocolates? Hardly original, and not exactly helpful with our New Year’s resolutions. Do diamonds speak louder than words? Nope – not even close:

          Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
          Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme…

sonnetsWhen it comes to expressing your feelings, use your words. Or… borrow someone else’s! For millennia poets have spilled out their hearts on papyrus, parchment and paper, and into the air itself. From Sappho to Shakespeare, Ovid to Neruda, Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Oliver, our shelves groan, sigh and sing with love’s burden, heavy as the heaviest heart, lighter than air. Here’s a list of just some of the books at your library packed with moving love poetry from all over the world, and all throughout the ages. Continue reading “This Valentine’s Day, Use Your Words!”