When I was asked by Nicole at Linus’s Blanket to join her on That’s How I Blog on BlogTalk Radio, I knew I wanted my book club selection to be a volume of poetry, especially since I would be on the show during National Poetry Month. So Nicole and I agreed on Your Ten Favorite Words by Reb Livingston.
I hope everyone will join me and Nicole at 6:30 PM EST this evening in the chat room and on the phone for the show and the book club discussion. OK, this is me begging!
Reb Livingston’s Your Ten Favorite Words is a collection of poems that examines the battle between the sexes in a new way, creating caricatures of men and women. Livingston has a way with imagery, alliteration, and riddles. A number of poems roll into a rhythm, twist the tongue, and require readers to assess each line carefully.
The collection is broken down into three parts: Our Rascal Asses; Unsweet and Looking for a Fix; Burgers and Pitchforks. Readers are introduced to three caricatures Smitten Girl, The Man With the Pretty Chin, and The Heart Specter. And each section begins with a mini-conversation or set of statements between the characters. These set up each section, allowing them to unfold.
“The Smitten Girl [to The Man with the Pretty Chin]: Will you be using your charm for good or injury?
The Heart Specter [murmuring]: (C)harm for G(o)od!” (Page 8 )
Livingston’s collection turns conventional expectations about female perspectives on relationships with men upside down. Each narrator celebrates female sexuality and desire, but also questions the confusion that comes with that base emotion and need. At the same time, there is a sense of the comedic in these lines, which pokes fun at the awkwardness of sex and interactions and expectations between men and women.
“He was dark brilliance and moans
(his moans, girlish and dusk, yet I gushed)” (From Almost Took a Lover Once, page 12)
Livingston’s Your Ten Favorite Words is a collection with a title that will cause confusion among readers and leave them scratching their heads. The title’s meaning and purpose to the collection could remain obscure for some time, but this is a collection readers will want to return to again and again to unravel the riddles and relish the inner truth of these frank discussions.
About the Poet:
Reb Livingston is a poet and editor of No Tell Books, a press devoted to poetry, and No Tell Motel, an online poetry magazine. She also is the author of Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, October 2007) and Pterodactyls Soar Again (Whole Coconut Chapbook Series, 2006). Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2006 and literary magazines.
This is my 26th book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.
This is my 15th book for the contemporary poetry challenge.
This is my 3rd book for the Clover Bee & Reverie Poetry Challenge.
Please don’t forget to check out the next stop on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour Life Is a Patchwork Quilt.