Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday is Perfect for Poetry.


It is Saturday, a good day to pull things together:  Grocery shop.  Do the laundry.  Take care of the car.

On Saturday, amends are made for weekday shortcuts:  A longer run for Fido at the dog park.  Ride your bike all the way around the lake.  Play with the kids.  Call mom.

On Saturday night we freshen up, unkink, wiggle our toes.

This kind of day, Saturday, is made for poetry.  It's a shot of fresh language directly into the brain.  Or a pleasantly familiar visit, like getting together with your old friend Shakespeare.  For example, a fun, short burst of poetry is found in Shakespeare's witches' chant from Macbeth.  It's great writing to read out loud.  Go ahead and try it; and give it a little punch, a little drama.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire, burn; and, cauldron, bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, -
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Did you smile after reading it aloud?  I do.

Unlike many other forms of writing, poems can have tremendous staying power.  For years I've carried in my wallet a poem called Fool's Errands by Kay Ryan that I'd read in the New Yorker.  It's a short poem with simple language, but perfectly captures and explains a joy that I've seen myself.  Here is the link.   Another poem I've hung onto after reading it in the New Yorker is by Michael Longley and called Cloudberries.   The title alone hooked me; I love the word 'cloudberries'

Something as fun, surprising, and engaging as poetry has to be good for you, right? Why not take a moment this Saturday to read, or write, some poetry.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Book from Brad Parks, Author of Mysteries Featuring Reporter Carter Ross.

A dawning realization: I have more Brad Parks books to read.

A few years ago I read, and greatly enjoyed, Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks.  This week, while reading Criminal Element, I discovered that Parks is bringing out his fourth book in this series.  Where the heck have I been? I missed reading books two and three.  Catching up with investigative reporter Carter Ross, Parks' protagonist, is now definitely on my to-do list.

The latest from Parks is called The Good Cop.  In addition to Faces of the Gone, earlier books featuring Carter Ross are Eyes of the Innocent (#2) and The Girl Next Door (#3).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"With or Without You": Unsparing Memoir by Domenica Ruta.

The memoir With or Without You is Domenica Ruta's unsparing entry into the tragedy-and-recovery genre.  In this case, the tragedy is growing up with an intense, and at times horribly careless, drug-using mother, and Ruta's own struggle with alcohol as an adult.  The recovery is Ruta's turn to sobriety (and also, it appears, launching her writing career by publishing this memoir).

As a memoir, I found Ruta's story of her childhood and young adulthood to be more sad than inspirational. And while very readable, the book is full of not-nice things. When I described With of Without You to a friend, including a bit that I found particularly disturbing, she told me, "Amy, don't read books like that."  

If you read the book, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  It might be a good read for book clubs.

Finally, an article about With or Without You appeared this week in the New York Times.  Here is a link to that story.