Quantcast

Drift by Alan King (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 1+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Drift by Alan King, from Audible and narrated by the poet, is a new experience in poetry, providing listeners with their own personal poetry reading. With jazzy music, sound effects, and the lyrical sounds of his poems, King transports listeners into an urban landscape where comic book heroes don’t live, but young boys still wish they would and that they could be them to battle the ugliness.

There is beauty in this collection, and it is a creative use of music, sound effects, and poetry. Tired of podcasts, depressing news, and television, enter the poetic world of Alan King and have your own personal poetry reading.

For more about the individual poems, my review is here.

Poetry: Beyond the Book

Poetry has reached beyond the page in a lot of cases, and many are aware of InstaPoets who read online in Instagram and create graphic posts of their poems. But were you aware of poets who are creating interactive collections using QR codes and turning to audio as a way to reach wider audiences?

Jessica Piazza’s recent poetry collection, This is Not a Sky, pairs her ekphrastic poems with QR codes to the paintings and artwork that inspired them.

I called the collection ” art unto itself and a must read for those who love painters and some of the most iconic artists of our time. Piazza will have you looking at the art on the museum walls in vastly different ways. She creates vignettes for the players and for those outside the frame.”

Check out your own copy.

Alan King, a local poet in the Washington, D.C. area, created his own audio version of Drift, relying on music and sound effects to set the stage for his very real poems. I’m listening to the audio now, and it is intriguing. I’ve enjoyed the first few poems on audio just as I did when I read the book.

The collection ” is musical, funny, and serious. It asks questions about identity and fitting it, particularly what it means to be a “brother.” But it’s also about growing up in an unforgiving urban landscape.”

Check out this sample below:

Let me know what kinds of unique poetry collections you’ve discovered. Which ones are breaking boundaries of the page?

Mailbox Monday #562

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received?

My Charming Rival by Lauren Blakely, a freebie.

To do list: Graduate with honors, get into medical school, and snag the most-sought-after celebrity photo of all time to cover my tuition. One more thing — resist the hot British guy who’s my biggest rival.

But from the first day I run into William on his motorcycle, he makes that difficult, since he’s flirty, charming, clever and keeps trying to convince me to spend the night with him.

Trust me — stripping him down to nothing is on my wish list, but I can’t let him get under my skin as I chase cheating directors and stake out clandestine trysts. Yet everywhere I go, my most charming rival is there — is he following me, trying to woo me, or aiming to sabotage my plans?

When I’m offered a brand new ticket to my dreams, I have to decide if I want to team up with the sexiest enemy ever…
Except there’s a third option too–and that one’s looking mighty appealing–if I’m willing to take a crazy chance.

The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes, a freebie.

A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time. But then their past creeps up upon them – and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place?

“Elizabeth… ” he murmured against her lips, her skin, her hair, and then her lips again. “I cannot forsake you. I cannot! I cannot bear to think of a life without you. ‘Tis not worth living, ‘tis but a slow death. I cannot lose you! I beg you, do not send me away again. I love you. Elizabeth, I love you!”

Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel – Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull. ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ – a story that is primarily about him – follows Mr Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings – and to correct the worst misjudgement of his life…

Mr. Darcy’s Letter by Abigail Reynolds, a freebie.

A lady’s reputation is a fragile thing. If anyone ever discovered that Miss Elizabeth Bennet had received a letter from a single gentleman, she could be ruined… or forced to marry a man she detests. In this Pride & Prejudice variation, Elizabeth takes the safer course and refuses to read Mr. Darcy’s letter of explanation. Returning home unaware of Wickham’s true nature, Elizabeth confesses everything to him, putting both Mr. Darcy and herself in grave danger from Wickham’s schemes. Note: This book contains an intimate scene between an engaged couple.

Inspiration by Maria Grace, a freebie.

Gentleman artist Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been able to express himself in words, but with his brushes and paints, he expressed what few men ever could. When his flighty muse abandons him, though, he finds himself staring at blank canvases in a world that has turned bland and cold and grey.

Worried for his friend, Charles Bingley invites Darcy to join him in Hertfordshire, in hopes the picturesque countryside might tempt Darcy’s muse to return. The scheme works only too well. His muse returns, with a vengeance, fixated upon the one young woman in the county who utterly detests him.

Will his selfish disdain for the feelings of others drive her and his muse away or can he find a way to please this woman with the power to bring color and feeling back into his world?

Christmas at Pemberley by Ola Wegner, a freebie.

We have opportunity to observe Christmas at Pemberley over the course of twenty years. From the time Fitzwilliam Darcy was just a boy, enjoying the love and attention of both of his parents and the antics of his baby sister. Through the years of darkness and struggles when he dealt with the death of his mother and father, raising Georgiana and carrying the responsibility of Master of Pemberley. To the moment when he is a mature man with a family of his own, reveling in happy existence with the love of his life and the mother of his child by his side.

A Lively Companion by Corrie Garrett, a freebie.

Book 1 of An Austen Ensemble
When Lizzy Bennet reluctantly agrees to become Anne de Bourgh’s companion on a short trip to Tunbridge Wells, she stumbles feet first into a summer of misunderstandings, revelations, and unexpected proposals.
Mr. Darcy, feeling foolish that he came to the brink of a proposal due to an arbitrary deadline, decides to accept his aunt’s request to accompany them–hoping that his decision regarding Elizabeth will make itself plain.
While Anne spends her morning dutifully drinking the famed waters of Tunbridge Wells, Lizzy is pulled further into the Darcy and de Bourgh family circle. From Darcy’s cousin, Lady Honoria, to his sister, Georgiana, Lizzy can’t help feeling that this is a family she would like, except for Mr. Darcy!
Which only makes it all the more painful when she must resolutely reject the proud head of the family…

Drift by Alan King on Audible.

“Alan King reminds us of the beauty of efficiency. His poems do not waste moments or words. These are wonderful journeys into the lives of everyone (something of you is here, I guarantee it), effortless, peaceful but powerful walks that focus upon the compassionate things: Friendship, love, family, justice, tradition. Alan King has started his own tradition in Drift, one born of his own generation but timeless and strong; a voice we should all hope will be showcased for years.” (Brian Gilmore, poet, public interest lawyer, and columnist for The Progressive Media Project)

What did you receive?

2018 Poetry Gift Guide

Usually at this time of the year, I’m reading to meet my goal on GoodReads or just trying to finish up the dozen books I’m reading at the moment.Not this year, since I met my goal already.

In the middle of that, I’m usually scrambling to find a meaningful or needed gift for friends, family, and others. I love giving gifts to those who don’t expect them.  I also love sharing some of my favorite books in bookstores and on the Metro, and pretty much anywhere where books can be discussed.

In that spirit, I wanted to provide you with a short list of poetry books I love and why I think you should share them — I’ll even give you a couple hints as to who might love them, even if they say they don’t read poetry.

For the Kids:

1. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts, is a perfect introduction to rhyme and poetry, as well as a strong girl who loves science and can do anything. The book will inspire children to get the discovery bug and want to find out for themselves how the world operates and what is going on around them. (my review)

2. Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple is more than just poetry; it’s a collection and celebration of words and image. This is a collection for bird lovers, young kids learning about nature and birds, and the whole family. Through words and photographs and illustrations, kids can learn about birds in their area, migration, and so much more. (my review)

3. Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, adapted by Gareth Hinds, is gorgeous! Any one who knows Poe’s poems and stories will want this in their collection. The graphic novel brings the poems and stories to life. These classics become vibrant, and it will be a great way to show younger readers the gruesome and haunting lines of Poe come to life. (my review)

For Dog/Animal Lovers:

1. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver brings to life the familial relationship people have with their dogs and other animals. There are moments of pure joy and moments of deep sadness. Her poems always carry a universality, and she reminds us that dogs are sentient beings as well. (my review)

For Science Fiction/Science Lovers:

1. Field Guide to the End of the World by Jeannine Hall Gailey is the best collection for those who love science fiction, zombies, apocalypse survival movies, and its a guide written in accessible, fun, and funny poetic verse. You cannot go wrong with this one. Even my book club enjoyed it, and many of them are not poetry readers. (my review)

2. Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Chertock is a pint size collection with a powerful punch that uses science, humor, and space exploration to examine some deep issues, including body image and disability. These poems will have readers looking at space exploration in a more grounded way. (my review)

Grab Bag — Collections for the Adventurous:

1. Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a deeply emotional collection about loss and a tribute to a mother gone too soon. Through the various stages of grief, the poet shares her most intimate loss and the anger, sadness, and confusion she felt. Cherish those closest to you. (my review)

2. Story Problems: Poems by Charles Jensen is a creative collection that brings a new level of interactivity to poetry. Open-ended questions about world and self-examination in a collection with the cover of a composition book from school. A collection that deals with identity and loss, and so much more. (my review)

3. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine is so powerful that even three years after I’ve read it, I still think about all the cultural and racial questions it raises. The essays, poems, etc. blur the line between I, she, he, etc. to make it a much more universal commentary on how we are all human and connected to each other. (my review)

4. Point Blank by Alan King brings to life the rhythm and funk of life as a young boy growing up black in America where the color of your skin still taints how you are perceived and treated. Although there are some fun moments and great pop culture references, there’s a great deal to think and discuss with others about race in America. There’s a frankness to these poems that cannot be ignored. (my review)

If you have someone who’s hard to buy books for, perhaps they need something like poetry this holiday season.

If you need a different recommendation, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to offer a collection that would be suit.

I’d love to hear about what books your buying friends and loved ones, too, even if they’re not poetry.

Drift by Alan King

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 102 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Drift by Alan King, who read at the 4th DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading, has a musicality that is distinctly urban and young male, but it transcends these characteristics in the interplay of images he uses to describe not only lovers, but also friendships and hardships. Some of his lines will have you squaring up for a boxing match, while others will have your mouth watering.

from "Translation" (pg. 56)

That evening, when you climbed
on the back of my mountain bike, I might
have been rickshawing a dignitary the way
the hummingbird in my chest fluttered
with your arms around my waist;

King has the distinct ability to put readers in the moment with him, whether his narrators are teenagers unsure of romance or college students unable to stay away from trouble. Some of my favorite poems in this collection are in the voice of Pinky and the Brain on how they’ve become who they are and why they act the way that they do — you even get a little insight into why they are still friends, despite their differences.

Another of my favorites includes an insider’s look at AWP in which a young writer sees the idols of his book spines acting like fools. Some of these poems are very tongue-in-cheek, including a pep talk a poet receives during the month-long write a poem a day challenge. But many of them tackle serious issues adolescents face, particularly young black males.

Drift by Alan King is musical, funny, and serious. It asks questions about identity and fitting it, particularly what it means to be a “brother.” But it’s also about growing up in an unforgiving urban landscape.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Poet:

Alan King is an author, poet, journalist and videographer, who lives with his wife and daughter in Bowie, MD. He writes about art and domestic issues on this blog.

He’s a communications specialist for a national nonprofit and a senior editor at Words Beats & Life‘s global hip hop journal.

As a staff writer for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, King often out-scooped the Baltimore Sun when covering housing and the Baltimore City Council. His three-part series on East Baltimore’s redevelopment and the displaced residents brought together stakeholders (community leaders, elected officials and developers) to work out a plan that gave vulnerable residents a role in helping to build up the city’s blighted neighborhoods.

He’s a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine. His poems and short stories appear in various literary journals, magazines and are featured on public radio. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Point Blank by Alan King

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 104 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Point Blank by Alan King, who read at the second DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic, opens with the poem “Hulk,” and there are a number of references to the comic book universe. In “Hulk,” the narrator believes he’s like everyone else able to walk where he wants and do what he likes as any other teenager, but given the hour and his skin color, reality begins to seep in, shattering the illusion like the hulk stomping through the city on a rampage.

King’s poems are like this — musical, dreamlike, and nostalgic — only to be abruptly shattered or altered by forces beyond the narrator’s control. Isn’t this the essence of life? It sometimes upends us without our consent.

With “point blank” precision, King tackles issues of race, poverty, stereotyping, and uncontrolled anger. His poems often begin with stereotypes of race and as the poem unfolds, he teaches his readers to see how ridiculous those generalizations can be. In “Swarm,” he asks, “That’s when I wonder/if Insecurity’s the biggest instigator./The one constantly egging you on/to prove yourself./”

King’s poems speak with frankness about living in America, a nation that pretends to be equal in so many ways, a nation that is still younger than it thinks it is, and a nation rebelling against the world even now. The beauty of these poems is that frankness and how he mixes it like a song with rhythm and firecracker lines like “to scorch my boss/with her fire-bottle words/” and “my veins and arteries are the blood’s highways/and interstates, that too much of what I love/will slow traffic like an accident.”

“Booth Seat” is one of the most moving poems in this collection in which Death is racing around the city seeking out and getting his prey. Understanding the murder rates here in the D.C. area, this poems strikes very close to home. It reminds us that life is fleeting, and that even the most anonymous of us is at risk. Point Blank by Alan King is a stunner, and you’ll never forget it.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Alan King is an author, poet, journalist and videographer, who lives with his wife and daughter in Bowie, MD. He writes about art and domestic issues on this blog.

He’s a communications specialist for a national nonprofit and a senior editor at Words Beats & Life‘s global hip hop journal.

As a staff writer for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, King often out-scooped the Baltimore Sun when covering housing and the Baltimore City Council. His three-part series on East Baltimore’s redevelopment and the displaced residents brought together stakeholders (community leaders, elected officials and developers) to work out a plan that gave vulnerable residents a role in helping to build up the city’s blighted neighborhoods.

He’s a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine. His poems and short stories appear in various literary journals, magazines and are featured on public radio. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Mailbox Monday #467

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, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what we received:

Point Blank by Alan King, which I purchased at the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry reading this month.

“In Point Blank, we are given an intimate look at one man’s inner and outer life, but there’s no navel-gazing nonsense. There’s always an awareness, implied or explicit, of the sociopolitical crucible. With language both tough-minded and celebratory, Alan King ignites the important details of his experience, compelling us to ask what-plus-what added up to our own lives.” TIM SEIBLES, author of Fast Animal and One Turn Around the Sun

“Alan King is one of my favorite up-and-coming poets of his generation. His poems are not pop and flash, rather more like a slow dance with someone you’re going to love forever. Here you will find poignant slices of life, so bright in a rough age of race killings and hate speech. He reminds us that what matters has always mattered.” JOY HARJO, poet, musician, performer, and teacher.

Drift by Alan King, which I also purchased at the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry reading this month.

Poetry. African American Studies. “Alan King reminds us of the beauty of efficiency. His poems do not waste moments or words. These are wonderful journeys into the lives of everyone (something of you is here, I guarantee it), effortless, peaceful but powerful walks that focus upon the compassionate things: friendship, love, family, justice, tradition. Alan King has started his own tradition in DRIFT, one born of his own generation but timeless and strong; a voice we should all hope will be showcased for years.”—Brian Gilmore, poet, public interest lawyer and columnist for The Progressive Media Project

Walk with Me by Debra Schoenberger for review from iRead Book Tours.

Whenever I’m asked “which is the best camera?” I pretty much respond: “the one you have on you.” In fact, most of the images in this book were taken with my cell phone simply because I always have it with me. ​

This is not only a book about street photography but a visual diary, or collection of quirky, unusual and sometimes just plain weird photos I’ve taken over the course of the last decade. ​

As a street photographer, I need to be an assiduous walker. My sneakers often take me to little known, hidden corners, seaweed strewn (and sometimes stinky) beaches and really cool back alleys of my rather small island city of Victoria, BC.​

I’ve also included images of curiosities I’ve seen throughout my travels.
​​
Everyone sees the world differently and this is my collection of the quirkyness that I call life.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . .
Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

What did you receive?

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.