Archive for poetry

The Book Booth: Storming the Fortress Edition



Image: LitHub

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Storming the Fortress Edition

By this time I think the French people are in recuperation mode after celebrating the 227th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison, as well as the horrific attacks in Nice. We also celebrated the 104th birthday of Woody Guthrie, who left an incredible legacy of music. He stormed a few fortresses himself and his guitar killed fascists. Well done, sir.

Most fans of Philip K. Dick know that in 1974 he underwent what was either a psychotic breakdown or a mystical experience that informed his later work. Either way, he experienced visions, and being the highly intelligent man he was, he tried to understand them. Kyle Arnold explores the visions here for Publishers Weekly.
Philip K Dick

This past week also the anniversary of the birth of French master Marcel Proust, born on 10 July 1871, not long after the days of the Paris Commune. Always precocious, he answered a questionnaire sent to him by Antoinette Faure, daughter of a French politician of some renown, at the age of 14. That questionnaire had some long-lasting cultural ramifications as Evan Kindley explains here for the New Yorker.
Marcel Proust Questionnaire

Proust remains a literary treasure for serious readers. But in case you are dubious, six contemporary writers, including Edmund White and Francine Prose, make the case for reading him here for LiteraryHub.
Why Read Proust?

The memory of the Spanish Civil War continue to linger, some 80 years after it began. The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca was executed early in that conflict by Fascist forces. Now his new memorial in Granada is experiencing a dispute between the poet's family and the Spanish government.
Garcia Lorca Memorial Dispute

Poetry can be our refuge from the world and Lord knows,we have had a couple of trying weeks. Here BuzzFeed suggests seventeen poems to help us struggle through them.
17 Poems to Help You Through Life

They keep finding some very cool stuff at the Folger Library. Here Sarah Hovde shares an illustrated French edition from 1910 of Macbeth, with the illustration by Swiss artist Carlos Schwabe (probably).
An Illustrated French Macbeth at the Folger

This coming week we will, in all likelihood, see the anointing of Donald Trump as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The Guardian recently interviewed American writer Walter Mosley about the Donald, among other things. And congrats to Walter for the recent publication of his novel Charcoal Joe, another installment in his Easy Rawlins series. If you have never read him, go do so now. We'll wait.
Walter Mosley on the Presumptive GOP Nominee

Have a most pleasant weekend. Rest now after making the charges against the barriers and enjoy some great books. And please let us know what those books are.


The Book Booth: Baseball Is Back Edition



Image: BuzzFeed

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Baseball is Back Edition

We can now call it Spring officially. Major League Baseball opened its regular season this week, and all is right with the world. In April, every team has a shot at playoff contention and come sometime in October, a mere six months from now, we'll know which teams will go to the Fall Classic.

For whatever reason, baseball lends itself better to good writing than other sports. There are good books written about other sports, of course, but football and basketball have never found their Roger Angell. In any event, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has offered up eleven new baseball books, including an academic tome about baseball and the law which you can get for a song and a dance and $120 bucks.
Play Ball!

More from the Shakespeare front. It seems a First Folio has been found, sort of, in the library of a Scots lord. Only 750 were printed, so owning one is quite the treasure. I believe the initial printing sold for four pounds, which was a lot of money in 1623, but well worth the investment, some 400 years later.
A First Folio is Discovered!

I don't think anyone would confuse the rhetorical tropes of Donald Trump with the Bard. Except for maybe the folks at the New Yorker. This is funny.
To Be or Not to Be: Donny Does Will Shakespeare

With April now here, we are also celebrating National Poetry Month. And the BBC asks how much of a poetry buff you might be. It seems I need to brush up on my Portuguese
Are You a Poetry Buff? (The BBC Wants to Know)

To get you into the mood to pick a poetry book of the shelf, look at some poetical quotes offered up by the folks at Signature.
Dash Against Darkness

This month we are also celebrating the 100th birthday of famed children's author, Beverly Cleary. A resounding Happy Birthday to the woman who introduced many a child to the joys of reading!
Happy Birthday, Beverly! 

The interplay between the visual arts and the written arts is a source of fascination to me. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is to "see" what I am writing about. (Not that it helped my creative efforts much, alas.) Annie Weatherwax explores the connection here. And thanks to my friend Dwight for sending this link along.
Writing and Visual Arts

Seattle Tammy found this piece which is totally NSFW. Somehow I missed these titles in my wayward youth; or perhaps things have changed a lot since I was teenager.
Photoshopped Kids Books (NSFW)

I never thought that the famous relationship between novelist Thomas Wolfe and his editor at Scribners Maxwell Perkins would be the stuff of film drama. I thought wrong, apparently, and the movie, which will star Jude Law, Colin Firth, Laura Linney and Dominic West, among others, is scheduled for release in June:
Thomas Wolfe and Maxwell Perkins

A pleasant spring weekend to us all and please let us know what books you've got going. And here's hoping that your favorite baseball team wins the World Series this year.


The Book Booth: April Showers Edition



Image: Flavorwire

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: April Showers Edition

In my case the title for the week is ironic. We've been having superb weather, with sun and temperatures in the mid-sixties. That will all end at the beginning of the week when the rain returns and April showers will return, and, one hopes, provide us with the May flowers.

Spring brings out the poetical in us. Chaucer begins his Tales praising the rains of April. Wordsworth wrote of daffodils. (And April is National Poetry Month). Flavorwire found ten other poems that praise the new season, ranging from the Bard himself to a particularly nice poem by Claude McKay. Not included is The Waste Land, which is kind of a downer when it comes to Spring.
Poems to Greet the Spring

I mentioned last week that we are fast approaching the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare and we shall be seeing much-related stories of that playwright in the coming month. It now seems that Pelican, long a publisher of the plays, has had their cover art, which had been very plain for decades, redesigned in minimalist fashion by young artist, Manuja Waldia. I'm not sure what to make of them, but it took a while to get used to the Milton Glaser jacket art used on the Signet covers back in the sixties.
New Cover Art for Old Shakespeare Plays

Harper Lee passed away a few short weeks ago. Twenty nine of her letters are now up for auction, sold in separate lots with opening bids beginning at $750. Many of the letters complain about the invasion of her privacy, while others are more chatty. It is a little surprising that they weren't already offered to some University collection, but in any event, these ones are for sale. The Telegraph has the story.
Harper Lee Letters Up For Sale

Alas, novelist and poet, Jim Harrison died last week at age 78. He was best known for his novella Legends of the Fall, which was famously filmed in 1994 and starred Brad Pitt. NPR remembers him here.
Jim Harrison Remembered by NPR

The poet Rich Smith has this appreciation of Harrison the poet here that he wrote for the Seattle alternative paper, The Stranger. Harrison had some of the qualities himself that make one a legend.
Ode to Jim Harrison, Poet

I have been a big fan of novelist Leslie Epstein for some time now. I first encountered his long short story, The Steinway Quartet, many years ago in a literary magazine and loved it. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him one time at a book collection, and I told him how much I admired his novel Pandaemonium (which is told brilliantly in the voice of Peter Lorre and is all about Hollywood in the thirties and early forties). He thanked me and said I seemed to be the only one who did. Here he talks about the importance of writing and reading.
Leslie Epstein Talks About Writing and Reading

The short novel is a form not often used these days, but has a long-standing tradition in literature. Heart of Darkness and The Death of Ivan Ilych both come to mind. At Publishers Weekly, Cynan Jones, author of the short novel, The Dig, discusses the pleasures of reading the short novel.
The Case for Very Short Novels

A wonderful weekend to you all and please do let us know what books are pleasing you.


The Book Booth: Autumnal Rhythms Edition



Image: Stylist

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Autumnal Rhythms Edition

The Fall is settling in. The daylight hours are just a wee bit shorter than the nighttime. The baseball playoffs are looming, with the season nearly over. There is football to take us into the winter months. And school is back, kids with backpacks going in the morning, and returning home in the afternoon.

I am of that generation that learned to read using the Dick and Jane primers. (I don't exactly remember learning to read and am told that I was reading before first grade, though). Those readers have seemingly been around forever. MentalFloss has some tid-bits of information on them in the article linked to below, and if you grew up with Dick and Jane, you'll find them interesting. Including the fact that Dr. Seuss hated them.
Dick and Jane Readers

I do remember as well the Raggedy Ann books being around, though I don't think I ever read one. I seem to recall having the doll around, which probably belonged to my sister. In any event, the doll and her brother Andy are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year.
Raggedy Ann Celebrates 100th - and Brother Andy Too!

When I visit our local library late in the afternoon, there are dozens of students huddled in the stacks and around the computer stations. And our local librarians handle them with aplomb. Of course librarians are heros as they should be. io9 featured some from both books and movies.
Our Librarians, Our Heroes

We hear much more about censorship and book banning here in the States than we do elsewhere in the world. But it still happens, even in other English-speaking states. Recently, New Zealand has banned a young adult novel entitled Into the River by Ted Dawe. H/T to Lucian.
New Zealand Young Adult Novel Banned

The author responded to the ban in this interview with the Observer.
Ted Dawe Responds To Ban

The Book Club phenomenon continues unabated. If you have ever wanted to start a group, the Stylist recently published a simple set of rules to get going. Rule number 7 seems to be the most important. Heh.
Book Clubs Are 'In' Again

The use of the nom de plume seems so 19th century. One thinks of George Eliot or George Sand. Even Dickens. But a poem by one Yi-Fen Chou that has been chosen to be included in the annual Best American Poetry collection has stirred some controversy. It seems Chou is actually one Michael Derrick Hudson, who is not Chinese-American, but a white man.
A 'Nom de Plume' With A Twist. Bias, Anyone?

I noted last week that the longlists for the National Book Awards have been released. If you look at those lists, you might wonder which ones you may want to actually read. Salon has conveniently described each one with the adjectives used in the blurbs. Who doesn't want to read a book that is "engrossing" or even "orgiastic"?
In the Mood for an 'Orgiastic' Book Today?

Finally I make another plea for reading the short story. There can be so much that is enriching in the short form and it is not an easy genre to master. Andrew Malan Milward, whose own collection, I Was a Revolutionary, has been published recently, suggests these collections that excel in evoking the sense of place.
Publishers Weekly on Short Stories

Have a most wonderful weekend with lots of books! Please let us know what books are giving you pleasure.