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Drift by Alan King

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 102 pgs.
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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.

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?