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As Promised…Carol Dine Poem Review

Trying to Understand the Lunar Eclipse by Carol Dine has a number of vivid poems within its pages. “Hurricane, Megansett Harbor” espouses eerie and lasting sounds that echo in the reader’s ears. The hurricane is heard and felt, and my favorite image in the poem is “We can smell it/deep in our throats,/wet and panting,/its mouth wide open”

The eye of the hurricane is wide and the wet rains pour down on the ship as it cruises through the waves with its passengers huddled inside. This poem brings me back to New England, and the summer storm season. Hurricane season on the Atlantic coast runs from June through November, so you can imagine how many tropical storms and hurricanes can form in a given season. While each storm has its unique characteristics and strengths, the experience of surviving or living through a hurricane is unique to each person. This is the the opener of the poetry book. What a way to start off the book. Way to go Carol.

Stay tuned for another installment of poetry reviews from this book until I finish the memoir and Patterson novel I am reading.

Remember the Blood Books

As you will recall from the last post, I ordered volume 2 in the Blood Books by Tanya Huff to complete my little collection. Well suffice to say, the bookstore called to say the book was in and ready to be picked up. I headed to the bookstore and picked up the book. Got home with the book only to realize they ordered me Volume 1 and not Volume 2, like I had expected. I have to now wait another week for the correct book to come in and then complete and even exchange. UGH.

Sometimes incompetence just astounds me, particularly when the person ordering the book for me saw that I was purchasing Volumes 1 and 3 that day! Ridiculous.

The other part of the bookstore trip was to purchase my mother’s latest James Patterson book, You’ve Been Warned with my 40% off coupon. At least that part of the trip went well.

Next post will be a review of one of the books I am currently reading; have no fear.

A Trip to the Bookstore…

One of my friends at work asked me for a reference on his job search, and I thought nothing of it. Soon he announced he was leaving for another firm, and thanked me for my reference with a giftcard to Borders. Being the bookworm that I am, I headed to the bookstore several times with good intentions of finding some new reading material to keep me occupied.

Finishing Places in the Bone, had me hankering for another memoir, and thankfully, my friend Sarah out in Iowa had just the book. Queen of the Oddballs by Hillary Carlip is a hilarious memoir of someone I barely know. This was my first mission at the bookstore yesterday…to find a copy of this book. Upon securing the last copy of the memoir, I set about another task, finding the Blood Books by Tanya Huff. Mind you at the time of my search, I could not remember the author’s name, nor the titles of the books. All I could remember was they books were the basis of a Lifetime show, Blood Ties. I tried just looking for the books in the horror section; then I attempted to check out the mystery/suspense section; little did I know that she is considered a fantasy author. I headed back to the information desk and put in my keywords: vampire (too many results), blood ties (too many books not related to the show), and finally private investigator and vampires (eureka it worked!). Again, the search computer told me that one volume was “likely” in the store, while another volume you had to reserve, and the last volume was “on order.” Lo and behold, the information desk staffwoman came to my rescue and brought me over to the fantasy section where we located volumes 1 and 3; I had to order volume 2. You would think that the search for books would be over. But no.

I had three books, two of them cheaper paperbacks, a 30% off coupon, and an urge to find more vampires. Eclipse, which is a recent book from Stephenie Meyer, peaked my interest, but again it was the third in a series. I began to hunt. We found the second book in the series, New Moon, right away. But the first book in the series eluded me. Perhaps again because I assumed it was a horror novel. I am full of misconceptions. It is actually a young adult series, which is where the information desk staffwoman led me to find Twilight.

Suffice to say, I did not leave with 6 books, but with four. I got 30 percent off oddballs, and the others were inexpensive enough that my giftcard covered a majority of the costs. Yeah for me.

Good News

As some of you already know, I have published poetry in online journals and print journals alike, but I have now branched out into photography. My first photo, In Flight, is published online in the Sept./Oct. Issue of All Things Girl.

I encourage all readers to check it out. I’m very excited as you can tell. I will have another photo in their upcoming issue for Nov./Dec. as well. I’ll remind everyone once the issue is online.

Places in My Bones…

Though I have not had cancer or breast cancer for that matter, it probably would seem odd that a memoir about a cancer survivor would get to me that much, but it did. I may not have cried while reading the book, but Carol Dine’s Places in the Bone reaches into the soul of the reader and pulls at the heart strings and a number of other senses through poetry, journal entries, and prose.

This book is not only a journey through her cancer ordeal, but also through her familial struggles with her father and mother. The distance between her sister and herself as a result of these struggles and how she copes. I have one of her poetry books slated on my to read list, but this memoir gives the reader a clear perspective on how these struggles infuse her poetry with palpable imagery and insight. For example, “When the heel of my father’s hand/pounds my back,/I focus on the bedroom wall./I am walking beside the reservoir./ The oaks are giants/taller than him;/”

Her past relations with the likes of Anne Sexton and Stanley Kunitz also play a significant role in her ability to cope with the realities of her treatment and her growing frustration with the relationship she had with her father, mother, and sister. I admire Dine’s ability to connect words to express her frustration, her anguish, her hopelessness, and her resilience.

Dine teaches at Suffolk University, my alma mater, though I never had the pleasure of her company in the classroom. However, I will never forget her generosity in helping out a fellow poet, floundering when her mentor turned her down; she agreed to sponsor my poems for an emerging writers contest for Ploughshares. Even though I did not win the contest, her kindness inspired me to keep going.

I Did Not Forget You…

I just wanted to post a note that I have not forgotten about the poll, nor about posting new posts. I had a wedding to attend across the U.S. this month, and I am just now catching up on work at the office. I hope to have a new post this weekend for you. As for the results of the poll, I am currently waiting for my poetry book of Carol Dine to arrive in the mail, so until it gets to me, you will all have to be patient for my review.

I do have Dine’s memoir, Places in the Bone, which I started reading and will probably post about on here when I have finished it.

Chinese Food, My Favorite

Billy Collins, the Poet Laureate between 2001 and 2003, makes an appearance in the July-August 2007 Issue of Poetry with “Old Man Eating Alone in a Chinese Restaurant.” Ashamedly, I admit I have never previously read any of Billy Collins’ earlier work. However, anyone who knows me has seen my obsession with Chinese food, Crab Rangoon in particular.

This poem, however, does not delve into the nuances of appetizers or of entrees like Moo Goo Gai Pan. At the beginning of the poem, the reader is told the poet had thought about writing a poem about an old man in a Chinese restaurant sitting alone at a table, but he did not write the poem when he was younger. However, now that he has aged, he opted to write the poem. It begs the question how different would the poem have been had it been written when he was younger, rather than when he was older.

Collins expresses his opinion on the matter: “I would have gotten it all wrong/ thinking: the poor bastard, not a friend in the world/and with only a book for a companion./”

Collins takes his watercolor brush and paints the scene, from the big windows filling with light to the supple hair of the waitress. From the lines in the first stanza it would seem Collins thought he would have had a more somber view of the lone man in the Chinese restaurant.

Emerging Photographers of Maryland

Friday night’s photography show at Gallery F64 was a small and intimate affair in Ellicott City, MD. It was great to see an old favorite of mine, Cottage View, by Jamie Berman as part of the exhibit. I love his reflective pieces, which he has done quite a few of over the years. There were two others I had not seen before, though I may have given my mind is faulty sometimes. He had three photos in the gallery this time around, which is pretty good for someone just starting out, I think. It was great to see the work of other photographers in the region as well; some of whom were on hand as well.

The other emerging photographers featured in the gallery exhibit include: Ben Cricchi, Antonio Paterniti, Bob Paulding, and Brenda Fike. Unfortunately, I could not find a site for Mr. Paterniti, but here are a Field & Stream photo and a National Geographic photo.

I figured I would add a blog about photography, since I have been promising a balance between poetry, writing, and photography, which are my passions. Enjoy the emerging photographers.

Rhyme This

Traditional forms of poetry often leave me cold; but on occasion, a poet will surprise me. Wendy Cope’s “Some Rules” in the July-August issue of Poetry uses an ABA rhyme scheme with an ending couplet in the final stanza. The rhyme scheme provides a sarcastic and sort of whimsical undertone to the poem.

“Don’t fall for an amusing hunk,/However rich, unless he’s kind./Don’t answer e-mails when you’re drunk.//” Sounds like pretty solid and practical advice to me. The rhyme is a bit elementary, but I think it works here, especially since the rules are simple. The main rule in this poem seems to be not engage in activities with heavy consequences when drunk. However, the poet explicitly reminds the reader not to answer emails when drunk. As a reader, it makes me wonder why this rule is particularly important to remember.

The fourth stanza is full of regret, or so it seems to me. “Don’t live with thirty years of junk–/Those precious things you’ll never find/Stop, if the car is going ‘clunk.’//” Car troubles, plus rising piles of junk seem to get the poet down. It’s almost like the poet has created a list of New Year’s resolutions to follow.

Just for Fun

Back to the July/August issue of Poetry magazine. “Blues for Oedipus” by X.J. Kennedy amuses me. The words chosen by the poet to run through the tragedy of Oedipus in two short stanzas, moving the reader quickly through the major conflicts. The words and phrases are short and bounce from line to line like a hip-hop song. “Oracle figured/You’d come a cropper,/Kingdom-killin/Mammyjammin/Poppa-bopper!//” The first stanza is the most fun, and it made me want to dance. The second stanza is more explicit about the events in the tragedy, but with the flare of a spoken-word poet. It reminds me of April poetry month events held in Bethesda, Md.