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Feeling flat

Feeling flat

A Bag of HandsA Bag of Hands by Mather Schneider
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a Runner-Up collection for the 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize and so many must appreciated the “talky’ style of poetry contained herein:

It’s 5 a.m.
and I get the cab warmed up.
I drive to McDonald’s in the dark
where Josie is already working
the breakfast shift.
She gives me a coffee and a smile.
This is how we met
3 years ago.

Most of the poems go this way. The opening poem, “Hot Iron,” and the closing one, “Chasing the Green Card,” both work a little more for me. But I just cannot appreciate this sort of poetry. Billy Collins does it better. It must be me–so many editors do appreciate and publish poems of this sort. But this collection left me flat.

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Ursula Le Guin and the Tao

Ursula Le Guin and the Tao

“But I, who am old, who have done what I must do, who stand in the daylight facing my own death, the end of all possibility, I know there is only one power that is real and worth having. And that is the power, not to take, but to accept.” From The Farthest Shore

Ursula K. Le Guin Wins Posthumous Prize For Essay Writing – Associated Press

Now is Not the Time to Talk about Guns

Now is Not the Time to Talk about Guns

The dead are too warm and bloody.

The living have not had time to mourn.

The news cycle has not had time to move on to the next big thing.

The politicians have not had time to bank the latest contribution.

The ammo manufacturers have not had time to refill the stores’ coffers.

The earth has not had time to swallow all the dead.

And there has not been enough time for the next gunman to vindicate

the silence of legislators with another shooting for which

now will not be the time to talk about guns.

Helen Vendler – Someone to sit beside as you read poetry

Helen Vendler – Someone to sit beside as you read poetry

The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar: Essays on Poets and PoetryThe Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar: Essays on Poets and Poetry by Helen Vendler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Helen Vendler as she discusses poets and their poetry is like sitting with your favorite professor, one not stuffy though erudite, one brilliant but clear. I may not agree with her exegesis of a given poem or her ultimate judgement on the worth of a given poet’s work, I have to face that fact of her cogent arguments. Vendler seems to love poetry so much more than many critics who spend their time demonstrating their superiority to the art their discuss. I enjoy reading her essays and explications nearly as much as I do the poetry itself.

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