Poetry, Aloud

two loons taken for vultures by sandra cookson poetryIt has been quite a week for me and poetry! It has somehow cropped up in my life an astounding number of times in the last few days. Yesterday, poetry make yet another appearance in my life. I work for my campus newspaper, The Griffin, as a writer and a copyreader for the Life & Arts section. I usually write about books (most of my articles for the paper actually appear in some form on this blog), so when the L&A editor needed someone to cover a poetry reading by a professor from our college, I bustled down to the bookstore, ready to jot down notes while enjoying some poetry.

The poet, Sandra Cookson, has been a member of the Canisius College faculty for 23 years, teaching writing and literature classes. Last night, she read from her recently published chapbook Two Loons Taken for Vultures at Talking Leaves Books, my absolute favorite indie bookstore in Buffalo.

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Read More/Blog More Poetry, March: Allen Ginsberg

read more/blog more poetryWelcome to the March installment of the Read More/Blog More Poetry event hosted by Regular Rumination! As I’ve said before, I don’t know much about poetry and even find it a little intimidating, but I am using this event as a challenge to broaden my literary horizons and learn more about this art form!

In the last few days, I’ve actually had a few interesting conversations about poetry, stemming from the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair I attended on Saturday. When I confessed to a poetry publisher that I have trouble reading poetry because I sometimes don’t understand what the poet is talking about, he encouraged me to focus more on the words and how they make me feel than analyzing them, assuring me that I don’t have to “understand” a poem to enjoy it; what matters more is my emotional reaction. I wrote about this in my post about the BSPBF and received some really really helpful feedback from a few readers. You can read the article and comments here.

I chose to read Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg for this month’s Read More/Blog More Poetry post, and I tried to put my new perspective into practice while reading it. I think I need to spend more time with “Howl” before I can say anything about it; my one reading of the three-part poem left me with scattered impressions, and I would really like to read it a few more times to let it sink in a bit more. Continue reading

Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

Yesterday I went to the sixth annual Buffalo Small Press Book Fair at the beautiful Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Held inside a beautiful, restored church complete with stained glass windows, the fair brought together small publishers, authors, poets, artists, zinesters, and enthusiasts of all of sorts! Hundreds of people filled the large space, milling through rows of tables set up for the vendors selling a plethora of book-related wares.

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Reading Multiple Books: A Delicate Balance

Jillian wrote a really interesting post yesterday about feeling overwhelmed by her TBR list. I can definitely empathize with what she said about the feeling of obligation to read a certain book at a certain time making her not want to read that book. Reading is something we do for enjoyment, but feeling as if we should read a particular book turns reading into an obligation — and there is nothing fun about doing something you feel obligated to do.

Our enjoyment of books is partly dependent upon how excited we are to read them. We won’t much enjoy a book we feel we have to read, whether we feel obligated to read the book itself, or we feel we should be reading the book at this particular moment. This seems to be a very important point to Jillian, who wants to follow her reading whims and cravings, picking up whatever strikes her fancy in the moment. She says “I’d read everything on my Classics Club list at the same time as inspiration pulled, and probably have them all finished about the same time in 2017.” However, this is where we differ. Continue reading

Shelve Your Enthusiasm

In my last post, I wrote about my love for bookshelves. My bookshelf is my favorite thing about my bedroom; it provides a place where my beloved tomes can live together in well organized harmony. I think bookshelves are great because the titles they hold say a lot about us. What I didn’t talk about in that post, however, was what the actual shelves may say about us. Sure, your standard rectangular wooden bookcase doesn’t say a whole lot about your personality, but there are some super talented designers out there who have gone above and beyond providing for basic book storage needs. We’re talking about works of bookshelf art here. Because don’t your books, your most treasured possessions (maybe), deserve a home as visually stimulating as they are mentally stimulating?

I now present, for your viewing pleasure, some totally awesome bookcases.

tree bookshelf

I love the idea of a sculptural bookshelf. If only the money to buy books grew on trees! Continue reading

Case Studies: On Bookshelf Organization


Case studies, book cases… see what I did there?! Oh dear, please ignore me. This habit for puns is getting out of control.

I love bookshelves. I’m not talking about beautifully designed bookshelves that spark admiration and conversation (although I love those, too), but just having a bookshelf. I think a person’s bookshelves say a lot about her, and I love being able to display the books I’ve read and plan to read. It feels so autobiographical: here’s where I’ve been, and here’s where I want to go. The titles a person has on her bookshelf are just so representative of her personality and what she cares about! Continue reading

Gilmores Read More

Gilmore Girls booksI have no shame in admitting that I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan. I love the characters, the lightning-fast banter and the unique mother-daughter relationship. And as an avid reader, I love Rory, TV’s most lovable book nerd. The girl, who grows from a bookish and slightly awkward high school student into a confident, vivacious college graduate over the course of the series, always has her nose in a book (or several!). Her intelligence and love for the written word are wonderfully conveyed in the Commencement speech she gives as Valedictorian at her graduation from Chilton:

“I live in two worlds.  One is a world of books. I’ve been a resident of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann’s Way. It’s a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior.  My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything.  Richard and Emily Gilmore are kind, decent, unfailingly generous people.  They are my twin pillars, without whom I could not stand.  I am proud to be their grandchild.  But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be.  She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith.  As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.  Thank you, Mom: you are my guidepost for everything.”

For the other Gilmore Girls fans out there, here is a list of the books Rory talks about, is shown reading, or references throughout the series. This post was inspired by Free Page Numbers’ post a few days ago, although I think I have used a slightly different list. My list was compiled from the thread on Rory’s Book Club, rather than the CW’s list of books Rory would probably read. Just for fun, I have also included a list of the books Jess reads during the show! I don’t put a lot of faith in Rory’s choices of boyfriends (Dean was jealous and controlling, Jess was a bad-boy jerk, and Logan was an arrogant, rich-boy jerk) but you can’t deny Jess has good taste in books! Continue reading

Two Weeks into “Bleak House” and Going Strong!

Bleak House by Charles DickensOh gosh, I have been a terrible blogger lately! Last week was crazy, but it’s finally spring break, so I have a little bit more free time to spend writing.

For the last 2.5 weeks, I have been participating in Wallace’s “Bleak House” read-along over at Unputdownables. I actually started out the read-along very behind; for various personal reasons, I wasn’t able to start reading until the first week was over! But over the last week and a half, I have caught up and am really enjoying the book! I was quite nervous about starting this novel; I somehow had the idea that it was going to be a very difficult book to read. I had heard Dicken’s reputation of being very wordy, and I took that to mean confusing, like when I read philosophy writing in which the author keeps saying the same thing in different ways, but I still don’t understand the point he is trying to get across — like the overabundance of words just muddles up what the author is trying to say. Thankfully, I am not finding that to be a problem with Dickens! I am really enjoying his writing; it is much more humorous than I was expecting, and his long descriptions are really wonderful! Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Covers

This week, The Broke and the Bookish ask bloggers to list their Top 10 Favorite Covers, so today I will be breaking the age-old rule and judging a book by its cover. Since The Broke and the Bookish encourage everyone to be as specific (or general) as they wish when making their lists, I will be posting my favorite book covers from 2011. Why not 2012? Simply because the year has barely begun! There are already dozens of gorgeous 2012 book covers floating around the Interwebs, but I prefer to look back on an entire year of book covers — and 2011 had some pretty great ones!

I have actually only read two of these books so far and own a third (“The Leftovers,” “Bossypants” and Swamplandia, respectively) but I will definitely be adding some of these to my TBR list. I have no idea what most of them are about (yet), but they must be good if adorned with such beautiful art, right?

Here are my top ten favorite 2011 book covers for your viewing pleasure:

Update: Because these covers are so intriguing, I’ve added links to a review of each book; just click on the cover photo. All reviews except “The Borrower” are from the New York Times, simply because their reviews tend to come up first.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

For a post-Rapture book, the smoke drifting from the shoes is perfect.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I love Tina Fey, and this cover is wonderful and hilarious.

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