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Mailbox Monday #363

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a 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 from the library sale, two hardcovers for $1 each and the rest paperbacks at 50 cents.

Never by Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham’s collection of poems, Never, primarily addresses concern over our environment in crisis. One of the most challenging poets writing today, Graham is no easy read, but the rewards are well worth the effort. While thematically present, her concern is not exclusively the demise of natural resources and depletion of species, but the philosophical and perceptual difficulty in capturing and depicting a physical world that may be lost, or one that we humans have limited sight of and into. As she notes in “The Taken-Down God”: “We wish to not be erased from the / picture. We wish to picture the erasure. The human earth and its appearance. / The human and its disappearance.”

With a style that is fragmented and somewhat whirling–language dips and darts and asides are taken–Graham stays on point and presents an honest intellect at work, fumbling for an accurate understanding (or description) of the natural world, self-conscious about the limitations of language and perception.

The Best of It by Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, named the Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry 2010, is just the latest in an amazing array of accolades for this wonderfully accessible, widely loved poet. She was appointed the Library of Congress’s sixteenth poet laureate from 2008 to 2010. Salon has compared her poems to “Fabergé eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder.” The two hundred poems in Ryan’s The Best of It offer a stunning retrospective of her work, as well as a swath of never-before-published poems of which are sure to appeal equally to longtime fans and general readers.

The Seven Ages by Louise Gluck

The Seven Ages was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1999.

The fierce, austerely beautiful, and visionary voice that has become Glück’s
trademark speaks in these poems of a life lived in unflinching awareness.
Many of the poems in this collection bear the familiar features of Glück’s
earlier work, returning to themes of nature and the classical narratives
that explain the phenomena of the world around us. Like Ararat, Glück’s
fifth book, this collection explores the hazards and pleasures of the
domestic sphere and the family with an eye to the demonic. As in The Wild
Iris, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, and Vita Nova, imagination
supplants both empiricism and tradition in these poems. Unlike her past
work, many of these poems inhabit the realm of dreams, moving backward in
time to an eidetic, unrecoverable past and ahead to an as-yet unrealized
future. “Earth was given to me in a dream/ In a dream I possessed it.” In
these poems, Glück is wry, dreamlike, idiomatic, undeceived, unrelenting.

This new transparent mode, although charged by the indelible imagery and
exact phrasing her readers will recognize, represents an ecstatic departure
from her previous work.

Epic Song by Pablo Neruda

This book of epic and lyric poems is the first book that any poet — in Cuba or anywhere else — dedicated to the Cuban Revolution and the Caribbean peoples. Ardently alive today, they sing of dignity to the indignant, of hope to the hopeless, of justice in spite of the unjust, of equality in spite of the exploiters, of truth in spite of the liars and of the great, brotherhood of true fighters.

Field Work by Seamus Heaney

“Field Work,” which first appeared in 1979, is a superb collection of lyrics and narrative poems from one of the literary masters of our time. As the critic Dennis Donoghue wrote in “The New York Times Book Review”: “In 1938, not a moment too soon, W. B. Yeats admonished his colleagues: ‘Irish poets, learn your trade.’ Seamus Heaney, born the following year, has learned his trade so well that it is now a second nature wonderfully responsive to his first. And the proof is in “Field Work,” a superb book . . . [This is] a perennial poetry offered at a time when many of us have despaired of seeing such a thing.”
Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His recent translations include “Beowulf” and “Diary of One Who Vanished”; his recent poetry collections include “Opened Ground” and “Electric Light.”
“Field Work,” which first appeared in 1979, is a superb collection of lyrics and narrative poems from one of the literary masters of our time. As the critic Dennis Donoghue wrote in “The New York Times Book Review”: “In 1938, not a moment too soon, W. B. Yeats admonished his colleagues: ‘Irish poets, learn your trade.’ Seamus Heaney, born the following year, has learned his trade so well that it is now a second nature wonderfully responsive to his first. And the proof is in “Field Work,” a superb book . . . [This is] a perennial poetry offered at a time when many of us have despaired of seeing such a thing.”
“Heaney is keyed and pitched unlike any significant poet now at work in the language, anywhere.”–Harold Bloom, “The Times Literary Supplement”
“For all the qualities I list, the most important is song [and] the tune Heaney sings [is] poetry’s tune, resolutions of cherished language.”–Donald Hall, “The Nation”

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Here’s my review books:

Living Like a Runaway by Lita Ford for review from Dey Street Books.

In this long-awaited, emotionally powerful memoir,  “HEAVY METAL’S LEADING FEMALE ROCKER” (Rolling Stone) opens up about the ’70s and ’80s music scene and her trailblazing life as the lead guitarist of the “pioneering band” (New York Times) the Runaways and her platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated solo career. Hailed as “the mother of all metal” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the greatest female electric guitar players to ever pick up the instrument” (Elle), Lita Ford bares her soul in Living Like a Runaway.

Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt, for review from Sterling Children’s Books.

What is “normal?” That’s the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly “normal” subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. He speaks English, sleeps in a bed, loves his stuffed toy, goes bananas over pizza, and even deep-sea dives! Oh, no: what’s a “normal” scientist to do?

What did you receive?

  • Leslie

    I love library sales. I’ve been avoiding them because my bookshelves are all full!

  • Ah, this is a great place for used books. It gives them new life!

  • Thanks, Cheryl.

  • I love library sales!

  • marthae

    Looks like you made some great purchases! I have The Handmaid’s Tale in my TBR list. Normal Norman looks cute. Happy Reading!

  • Library sales are great for finding gems that you may not easily find elsewhere. I have never read The Handmaid’s Tale, a classic I would like to read one day.

  • Mary

    Love the cover of Normal Norman 🙂 Enjoy your new books.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    Don’t laugh, but Normal Norman is the book that caught my eye. The sales at my library aren’t as good as yours.

    • I can’t wait to read Normal Norman with my kiddo. I really love picture books. My library sales can be good, but not always

  • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    Happy reading!