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World Cup 2018: Poetry

I currently have World Cup fever and I couldn’t resist sharing this from My Poetic Side:

The Poetry World Cup
The Poetry World Cup, by My Poetic Side

Personally for Portugal, I would rather have seen someone other than Saramago. But you have to put your most renowned poet in the competition, don’t you?

For those interested in other Portuguese poets, please do check out these translated poems:

There clearly needs to be some more English translations of Portuguese poets.

Curious Iguana Event Recap: Sweta Vikram, author of Louisiana Catch

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Sweta Vikram came to Frederick, Md., to the Curious Iguana bookstore to have a conversation about not only women’s rights and her book, Louisiana Catch, but also about the dangers of social media and human rights.

And, yes, before you ask: I did bring every Sweta Vikram book I own to get signed, since I haven’t seen her in person in so long! She had to sign my books.  I hope I didn’t give her hand a cramp.

Also, since I help establish her blog tour through Poetic Book Tours for her debut U.S. novel, I was happy to provide a Live Facebook Feed for part of the event. Please click and watch the beginning of the event. She’ll make you laugh.

Please also view these two videos from the Q&A and reading portions of the event.

It was a small room and full of people that Sweta, also the owner of NimmiLife, knew and some that those people had brought along with them, including my daughter who did not want to miss the “Poet lady.” Yes, that’s how she refers to Sweta. I never saw her put on her shoes so fast to go to a reading before; it was quite a sight.

The event had it all: discussions of marital rape, surviving sexual assault, women’s rights, the differences between writing poems and writing fiction, and of course the question everyone wants to know — was Rohan Brady based on Bradley Cooper?

Sweta Vikram will be back in the D.C. area in September, and I hope those who couldn’t make it up to Maryland, will see her when she’s in town again.

Gaithersburg Book Festival 2018

Like every year, I plan out my time at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. I try to get in a good mix of poets, fiction writers, and children’s authors, as well as some time blocked out for eating and the children’s village of activities.

Unlike previous years, I was not moderating or volunteering, which was disappointing to me but with how hectic my daughter’s schedule has been I just had to cut something out this year. That will change for 2019.

Even as I made plans, life has a way of running us off track, which is exactly what happened this year. I missed all of the poetry and children’s authors I planned to introduce my daughter to. As my daughter was the one in rare form on Saturday, making everything difficult, including getting dressed and eating breakfast. Kids are a struggle.

It was a battle for the ages, and I set the plans aside and just let her be for more than half the day. I was in no mood for battles; I wanted fun and books.

Thankfully, as the rain burned off and the sun emerged, my daughter was in a better mood, and I didn’t have to miss Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger. Her Thrills and Chills panel with Julia Fine, author of What Should Be Wild, was all it was billed to be with a how-to on cutting up bodies, talk of Stephen King endorsements, female desire and myth rewriting and, of course, cannibalism.

Both books incorporate elements of horror and the supernatural, and both deal with some dark issues. I was thrilled to see a debut author paired with an author of four books because it often helps an audience see different perspectives on the writing and publishing processes. Fine says her book defies traditional genre descriptions, which Katsu saw as familiar given her Taker series was also a mesh of various genres. I’m looking forward to finishing The Hunger and reading What Should Be Wild.

Here’s a bit of a sidenote, my daughter was with me when I first met Alma Katsu, here’s a side by side look at the difference seven years makes:

 

 

 

 

Books and Stories by Alma Katsu:

I’d love to hear about what books and authors you discovered at the festival or a festival near you! Please share in the comments.

Thursday’s Poetic Thoughts #2

Thanks to everyone who has shared poetry-related posts this month.

Jill at Rhapsody in Books always has a string of #NationalPoetryMonth blog posts, and I love that she highlights children’s books that are poetic.

Catch her reviews of The Watcher by Nikki Grimes and Enormous Smallness of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess.

Cummings is one of my favorite poets and one of his poems was read at our wedding by my friend, Anna. The illustrated book about Cummings is going on my list for my daughter.

Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays shares her new kitten adventures and a poem for Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Naida of the bookworm shares a spot of Anne Sexton‘s poetry.

In other poetic news, I read a poem at the last open mic, attended by the mayor of Gaithersburg, and I’ve written 3 poems this month. One poem is still a work in progress, but that’s ok.

LOCAL EVENTS (MD/DC):

For upcoming local events, check out the Split This Rock Poetry Festival which starts today in Washington, D.C.

Additionally on April 22, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can attend Kensington Day of the Book. Some poets like Luther Jett and Don Illich, who read at the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading Series, will be there, as well as Nancy Naomi Carlson and Indran Amirthanayagam. There also will be young poets and storytellers. Although I will be unable to attend this year due to a prior engagement, this is a local event you won’t want to miss, Marylanders.

Also on April 19 and 20, The Bethesda Urban Partnership is hosting its annual literary event with winners of the Poetry and Short Story/Essay contest. Find out more about those events here.

4th DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading Recap

Unfortunately, I missed the 3rd reading due to other obligations.

However, this past weekend’s DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic at the Gaithersburg Public Library had a spectacular lineup with Marlena ChertockKateema LeeJoseph Ross, as well as special guest Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman, who spoke about the upcoming Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 19.

Ross kicked off the reading with poems from his collection Ache, many of which are written in the voice of famous civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. The collection touches on a great need for empathy and highlights some of the most horrible events in recent history, particularly the murder of black young men. I did want to ask how much consideration he gave to the community he was writing about when writing in these voices, but I’m not one to start controversial arguments in public settings. I did enjoy what was read from the collection and thought it well done. One beautiful thing about poetry readings is you can directly buy books from the poets you hear — no waiting, no forgetting their names (I’m horrible at remembering names) after the reading when life gets in the way…

Marlena Chertock’s poems were definitely different in that they exposed pain and suffering with the help of science and space exploration. Her poems immediately reminded me of the science-based poems of Jeannine Hall Gailey and others. Chertock’s style carries a very personal voice, a perspective from a short woman with bones that are older than her chronological age. Crumb-sized: Poems was the collection she read from the most and her “Application to NASA” had me hooked. Even the cover suggests “space” or at least “planets.” (my review forthcoming)

Kateema Lee has a new collection of poems, Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer, coming from Finishing Line Press that I just pre-ordered on their website. Her poems from this collection really caught everyone’s attention, especially with her rhythmic lines and humor. She also read from Almost Invisible, her first collection, and these were more sobering poems about her relationship with her Vietnam War veteran father. I had hoped to speak with her about the collection and her father, as well as buy a copy but she disappeared before I got to it. It was simply a busy reading. I know that she and Chertock will be at the 2018 Split This Rock Poetry Festival April 19-21 in D.C., so perhaps I will run into her again.

Lucinda Marshall, who has been the point person for these readings, solicited ideas from the audience about how to spread more poetry to the community. My daughter even filled out her notecard. You can find those ideas here.

Some of them are already being used in D.C., and it would be fantastic to see some of them used in Maryland’s Montgomery County.

For the special Mother’s Day poetry reading, check out the 2018 calendar of events. See you at the next reading.

Thursday’s Poetic Thoughts

National Poetry Month has started, and there are a few poetry posts cropping up to celebrate poetry. Here’s my rendition of #WednesdayWisdom

As Jill at Rhapsody in Books found science and poetry are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there are similarities in how they peel back the layers of our reality to provide us a better understanding of the world around us. She highlights some great poems for adults and children, and I encourage you to check out her post to learn more.

At Necromancy Never Pays, Jeanne speaks about the difficulty she’s had making time to read and talk about poetry since the election of our new president. Time has been taken up by causes that she believes in, and these are equally important. However, she does share a “political” poem of sorts — more of what I would say is a lament for things that are no longer the same. But the most powerful part was her images of Mr. Rogers who reminds us that we “choose” what we spend time on and we each make a choice every minute. We need the wisdom to remember that.

For those looking to purchase some great poetry, the National Parks System is offering 20% off its Poetry in the Parks books, posters, magnets and even an Edgar Allan Poe bobblehead.

2nd DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading Recap

This past weekend’s DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic was once again at the Gaithersburg Public Library, with featured poets Joanna Howard from A Splendid Wake, Alan King, and Sarah Browning of Split This Rock fame (celebrating 10 years this April).

I was really looking forward to this event because I’ve seen and connected with Sarah Browning on a couple of occasions, more recently through Facebook than anything, and I wanted to chat with her in person. I’ve also never heard her read her own work! What have I been doing? She’s dynamic as a speaker and a poet.

If you missed out on this event, you better not miss the next one in March.

Alan King and Joanna Howard are new-to-me poets, and I enjoyed Alan’s work so much I bought both his books at the event.  Joanna’s book is forthcoming and I cannot wait to get my hands on that too.  Please check out the Facebook Live of the event.

Here are some photos from the event:

We had a smaller than usual open mic session this go around, but I did read another poem this month.  I’m really making good on a promise I haven’t voiced aloud to anyone — I want to read more in public and more of my own poems. I hope to read at every one of these events, though some poems may be older as newer ones are not coming along fast enough.

If you’re in the Gaithersburg area on March 11, 2-4pm, I hope you’ll stop by and join us when Michele Wolf, Jennifer Wallace, and Maritza Rivera read their poems. Here’s the 2018 calendar of events.

#FridayReads: Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram

I feel like my review time has shrunk and the blog has a lot of empty spots during the week.  It has not been intentional. I’ve missed this space.

As I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, people talk about what books they’re reading on Friday.

Today’s read is Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram.

I’m slowing getting to know the main character Ahana, a woman who has lost much in the short time I’ve been with her.  Her mother has been her rock through her divorce, which is virtually unheard of in India. Through her experiences, Ahana has come to realize she must advocate for women’s rights and to end violence against women and help its victims. But she is still grieving.

It’s clear that this book is timely given the current climate in our government and the media reports, as well as the #MeToo movement. Women’s voices have been made silent too long. I hope that Ahana learns to speak for herself in a powerful way, but I suspect she must face more darkness before she gets there.

I wish work was over more quickly, so I can get back to it.

As a disclaimer, I am putting together a blog tour for Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram, so if you are interested, drop me an email.

DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading Recap

This past weekend’s poetry reading and open mic at the Gaithersburg Public Library was a huge success with more than 30 attendees and 13 poets reading at the open mic after the two featured poets, Sunil Freeman and Luther Jett.

Unfortunately, Kim Roberts was unable to attend and read thanks to that flu! I was really looking forward to hearing her read.  Next time.

I was lucky enough to help Lucinda Marshall with the setup, but my help wasn’t really needed. It was good to try my first Facebook Live for the event.  Thanks to those who popped in to watch.  I hope to do it again in February.

Here are some pictures from the reading and open mic:

So, even if you are not nearby and cannot attend, think about attending the Facebook live on February 11, 2-4 p.m. EST. This event is sure to be a big draw with local favorite and Split This Rock icon, Sarah Browning, reading her poetry.  I’m looking forward to it. She’ll be joined by Alan King and Joanna Howard. View the 2018 calendar.

I hope you’ll join us.

Spotlight & Giveaway: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

Ginger Monette’s Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey have been combined into one volume. I loved both of these books. I cannot recommend them enough, and now you can just buy one volume.

About the new volume:

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey with Lizzy and Darcy! Immerse yourself in a sweeping romantic and drama-filled saga that includes two full-length novels—both Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

~Volume I: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes (on my Best of 2016 list)

Heartbroken. Devastated. WWI Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy was rejected by the woman he loved and vows, “No more sentimental entanglements!”

But an undercover assignment at a field hospital brings him face to face with his beloved Elizabeth—who’s working with a dashing American doctor and a prime suspect in the espionage plot.

Forced to grapple with his feelings for her, Darcy has only a few months build a lasting bridge to her and uncover the truth before she’s condemned to a traitor’s noose.

~Volume II: Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey (On my Honorable Mentions list last year)

Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she vanishes.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy attempts a heroic feat and only survives by the daring rescue of his faithful batman John Thornton. But the damage is done. Darcy is plunged into a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse determined to teach him how to live and love again. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth.

His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But a secret at Donwell Abbey just might change everything…

About the Author:

Ginger Monette currently writes riveting romances inspired by Donwton Abbey and Jane Austen. Her use of compelling plot, vivid historical detail, and deep point of view has earned her stellar reviews for her Darcy’s Hope saga and a grand prize for flash fiction. Living in Charlotte, NC, Ginger enjoys Pilates, period and Turkish dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon. Check out the book trailer. Visit her on Facebook.

Visit Diary of an Eccentric for an interview with Ginger.

GIVEAWAY: 1 ebook of The Darcy’s Hope Saga

Leave a comment about in what era you’d like to see Darcy and Elizabeth fall in love.

Comment by Jan. 31, 2018.  Spread the word and leave me a link where you shared and get another entry.

GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, Jan. 14: DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic

You’re Invited!

When: Jan. 14, 2018, 2-4 p.m.

Where: Gaithersburg Public Library
18330 Montgomery Village Ave.
Gaithersburg, Md. 20879

Who: Luther Jett, Kim Roberts, and Sunil Freeman

 

Our first poetry event of the season!

My 2017 Favorites

No preamble. Let’s get to my favorite reads in 2017:

This is also tied with his chapbook, Story Problems.

WHAT BOOKS WERE ON YOUR LIST OF FAVORITES FOR 2017?