National Poetry Month Tour Schedule & Linky

Welcome to the 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon Blog Tour!

I do have a couple open dates still, but this is the schedule for April 2014 as it stands, with our first post on Savvy Verse & Wit and Rhapsody in Books!

April 1: Beth Hoffman and Rhapsody in Books
April 2: Book Snob
April 3: Bermudaonion
April 4: Tabatha Yeatts
April 5: Rhapsody in Books and Still Unfinished
April 6: Rhapsody in Books
April 7: The Bluestocking Society
April 8: the bookworm
April 9:  Lost in Books
April 10: Come, Sit By The Hearth
April 11:  Book Dilettante
April 12:  Rhapsody in Books
April 13: I’d Rather Be at the Beach
April 14:  Sophisticated Dorkiness
April 15:  Reader Buzz
April 16:  Everything Distils Into Reading
April 17: Necromancy Never Pays
April 18: Peeking Between the Pages
April 19:  Rhapsody in Books
April 20:  Rhapsody in Books
April 21:  Burning the Bridges
April 22:  Erica Goss
April 23:  Diary of an Eccentric
April 24:  Sweta Srivastava Vikram
April 25: Melissa Firman
April 26: Beth Kephart
April 27:  I’d Rather Be at the Beach and Emma Eden Ramos
April 28:  Regular Rumination
April 29:  Mary McCray
April 30:  Tabatha Yeatts

For those participating this year, please leave your post link below:

Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage

Source: Liveright, W.W. Norton
Paperback, 285 pages
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage is part memoir and part travelogue, and the path he chooses to walk — while contrary to what is outlined in the guidebooks for the Pennine Way in England and part of Scotland — is literally a walk home for him.  He begins in Kirk Yethom, Scotland, and ends more or less in Edale, England, which is in the Peak District.  As a poet, readers may expect a deeper analysis of the journey or the travails he experiences, but as Armitage is nearly constantly accompanied by strangers, friends, fellow poets, and even his family, he has little time to contemplate more than the scant passerby or the physical obstacles in his path.  Much of the travelogue is focused on Armitage re-orienting himself by map or landscape or simply following someone who has offered to guide him over a particular leg of the 267 miles.  The first poem included in the book doesn’t come until he has pass nearly a third of the way through the trail — whether that is when inspiration hit him to write a poem during the journey or whether it was written afterward about that section of the trail is unclear.

“Prose fills a space, like a liquid poured in from the top, but poetry occupies it, arrays itself in formation, sets up camp and refuses to budge.  It is a dissenting and willful art form, and most of its practitioners are signed-up members of the awkward squad.” (page 5)

Armitage has help in coordinating his journey, which includes readings held at the end of each leg either in an inn, a home, a bar, or other venues, and he passes a sock about the room for collections, which he uses to fund his continued journey along the way.  He says that he sets out on the journey to get “out there,” rather than write about far-off places from his desk chair.  In a way, he sees it as a way to “clear his head.”  The path does not seem to clear his head so much as clutter it with more concerns and worries about himself and the physical health of others.

There is a point early on in which he gains a “regular” pace of walking and he feels as though he’s reached his stride, but he’s clearly not reached the most arduous parts of the journey.  Those parts of the journey clearly way on his psyche, as does his part of the journey when he is lost in the mist.  He nearly loses his sense of identity, but he continues onward.  Perhaps this is the crux of the prose, that poets lose themselves in the journey and that loss of self can be frightening unless the poet can plod forward.

Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage is a journey at the arm of a poet who does not find himself all that interesting and cannot seem to understand the reason why anyone would volunteer to go on the journey with him or even come to listen to him read his poems.  The one interesting moment in the memoir where he talks of spare rooms as the keepers of “family lore” and “memory vaults,” is grossly under-explored, as he seems to want to keep out of the private moments of the people who open their homes to him.  While the landscape is varied and the hardships he faces could be a cautionary tale against these kinds of treks, the journey does not live up to reader’s expectations about what a poet would write about, experience, or explore.

About the Poet:

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in the village of Marsden and lives in West Yorkshire. He is a graduate of Portsmouth University, where he studied Geography. As a post-graduate student at Manchester University his MA thesis concerned the effects of television violence on young offenders. Until 1994 he worked as Probation Officer in Greater Manchester.

His first full-length collection of poems, Zoom!, was published in 1989 by Bloodaxe Books. Further collections are Xanadu (1992, Bloodaxe Books), Kid (1992, Faber & Faber), Book of Matches (1993, Faber & Faber), The Dead Sea Poems (1995, Faber & Faber), Moon Country (with Glyn Maxwell, 1996, Faber & Faber), CloudCuckooLand (1997 Faber and Faber), Killing Time (1999 Faber & Faber), Selected Poems (2001, Faber & Faber), Travelling Songs (2002, Faber & Faber), The Universal Home Doctor (2002, Faber & Faber), Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (2006, Faber & Faber, Knopf 2008), and Seeing Stars (2010, Faber & Faber, Knopf 2011).

Armitage’s 2012 nonfiction book Walking Home, an account of his troubadour journey along the Pennine Way, was a Sunday Times best-seller for over a month and is shortlisted for the 2012 Portico Prize.

Book 12 for the Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014.



6th book for 2014 European Reading Challenge; this memoir/travelogue takes place in England and Scotland.



18th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.





For today’s 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon tour stop, click the image below:

Guest Post: A Driven Poet by Erica Goss

Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, and the host of Word to Word, a show about poetry. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). Her poems, reviews, and articles appear widely, both on-line and in print. She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. Please visit her at Website.

We’ve been following her 12 Moons project with Atticus Books for some time and we’ve seen Snow Moon, Wolf Moon, Worm Moon, and Planters Moon.

Today’s she’s here to talk about her latest poetry project, Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Please give her a warm welcome.

When my book, Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets came out in late March, I decided that in order to promote it, I would attend events within a two-hour drive of my home in Los Gatos, California. I’ve already put plenty of miles on my Honda Fit, traveling to book-signings and poetry readings all over the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve driven two hundred miles in one day to read for twenty minutes, but that’s not even close to California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. He once drove from Fresno to San Jose, a round trip of three hundred miles, to read two poems at a book release party.

In spite of my general annoyance at the amount of time I must drive, I get some of my best ideas while driving. This is not always a good thing. Once on a drive between San Jose and Sacramento (about one hundred and twenty miles) an entire poem came to me, fully formed. Not in a place where I could pull over and write, I chanted the poem to myself over and over for the next half-hour while trying to concentrate on driving the speed limit. I even imagined what I would tell the officer, should I get pulled over: “I’ll show you my driver’s license as soon as I write this poem down.”

More often, as I enter my long-distance driving trance, bits of conversation, things I’ve read, and phrases from songs I’m listening to on the radio come and go in my thoughts. Part of my brain has to stay alert to drive safely, but the other part can roam, examining signs and counting the number of red cars vs. blue cars. I like finishing the terse sentences I read on highway signs: “Expect delays” becomes “Yes, I always expect delays” and “Gas Food Lodging” is kind of hilarious on its own. “Bump” is one of my favorite signs; our roads are plenty bumpy, but it takes a really spectacular bump to warrant a sign.

Traffic often grinds to a halt (like the sign says, “expect delays.”) I’ll pull out my Moleskine notebook and make a few notes: “sleep bone,” “I carry a purse and talk to strangers,” “recipe for lasagna,” “if marriage was a cookbook,” and “crows are so American” are all from recent traffic stops.

Since the release of Vibrant Words, I’ve driven from the Pacific Ocean to the Central Valley, and I’m just starting out. I hope to bring my book to places farther and farther from home, but if it gets too far, I think I’ll fly. Plus, I need new tires.

Erica is truly a driven poet. Thanks so much for sharing your travels and your inspiration with us.

Mailbox Monday #267

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has gone through a few incarnations from a permanent home with Marcia to a tour of other blogs.

Now, it has its own permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland, unexpectedly from Algonquin.

A stunning novel told with the same gravity as Nicole Krauss s History of Love. This powerful debut follows a woman who sets out to challenge the absurdity of the world around her. Lena, the transcriptionist, sits alone in a room far away from the hum of the newsroom that is the heart of the Record, the New York City newspaper for which she works. For years, she has been the ever-present link for reporters calling in stories from around the world. Turning spoken words to print, Lena is the vein that connects the organs of the paper. She is loyal, she is unquestioning, yet technology is dictating that her days there are numbered. When she reads a shocking piece in the paper about a Jane Doe mauled to death by a lion, she recognizes the woman in the picture. They had met on a bus just a few days before. Obsessed with understanding what caused the woman to deliberately climb into the lion’s den, Lena begins a campaign for truth that will destroy the Record’s complacency and shake the venerable institution to its very foundation.

What did you receive?

For today’s 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon tour stop, click the image below:

National Poetry Month Tour Schedule & Linky

Welcome to the 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon Blog Tour! I do have a couple open dates still, but this is the schedule for April 2014 as it stands, with our first post on Savvy Verse & Wit and Rhapsody in Books! April 1: Beth Hoffman and Rhapsody in Books April 2: […]

Response Poetry

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Sighted on Book Bloggers International

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The Late Parade by Adam Fitzgerald

Source: Liveright, W.W. Norton Hardcover, 112 pages I am an Amazon Affiliate The Late Parade by Adam Fitzgerald strikes a confusing pose upon first glance with its oftentimes odd image pairings and obscured references, but at its heart, there is a deep melancholy and longing in these poems.  There are moments that slip through the […]

Nefertiti in the Flak Tower by Clive James

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