172nd Virtual Poetry Circle & Amy Durant’s Blog Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to the 172nd Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2012 Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please visit the stops on the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Today we’ve got something a little different as part of Amy Durant’s blog tour for her book of poems, Out of True; She’ll be reading two of her poems via vlog, and has graciously included the text for both so you can follow along and have our regular discussion:

Don’t forget there will be a giveaway later in the post.

Downed Wires

Last night you came to me and told me
to stop looking. You were older
than I remember you. You would be,
of course; a lifetime has passed.
I still recognized you, but barely.
It was your eyes that clued me in, and the
hesitancy with your hands when you speak.
You still do that. 

You smelled of the lake where you used
to spend your summers
and of exhaustion, high, hot, electric. The air
thrummed between us. I put out my hand
and relished the shock. Our
hair flickers like seaweed in the charged air. 

Let me go, you said. Let me go
and you’ll be free. The sound
of water lapped lazy in the background.
I watched your eyes for a sign. Your words
weight me like stones in my pockets. 

The boy you were runs past us
in the background, calling over
his shoulder. This is where I’ll be,
when I go, he says.
Find me. Come and find me.
Not finding something
doesn’t mean you’ve stopped looking. 

Let me go, you say, but you know I won’t.
You grip my wrist in panic, a circlet of fire,
and I burn to ash.
Your eyes both judge me and thank me.
I live in the intersection of this Venn diagram.
I mindlessly trace the path like a labyrinth.
My feet know the way. To walk outside
would be madness.
To walk outside would be to lose you.
To walk outside would be to lose myself.
Pink Slip, Broken Hip

It’s another world, the world of the unemployed.

While you are all working, the elderly come out to play.
They fill the roads with their huge Cadillacs, driving
very slowly, their seats pushed as close to their
leather-wrapped steering wheels as possible,
peering myopically though their bleary windshields.
They make wide turns, look confused when another car
gets in their way. You are the interloper here.

They clog the aisles of the grocery stores with their
electric shopping carts, they take things off the shelves
with care, comparing price per ounce. They complain
loudly about cost increases and gather clacking and
squawking around the half-off bakery table, clawing
at bread rapidly going stale, at cupcakes with the frosting
melting off at the edges. They eye you, mistrusting.

They gather outside the library to share gossip, stories
of the good old days, who has died, who has broken
bird-like bones, who has moved to warmer climes,
who has remarried with unlikely optimism. When
you walk by, they hush, they gather close like bullies
on the playground, they point at you with witchlike
fingers and cast their curses. You are not one of them.
You are too young, your hands do not bear liver
spots, your back is as-yet unbowed. You do not belong.

The streets are theirs, the stores, the sidewalks.
You go about your day knowing you’re seeing
behind the curtain. You go about your day
knowing you’re seeing your own future.
Someday, they will fold you into their ranks
as seamless as death by drowning, and you will
go forth, stooped, shaking, knowing the days
belong to you; the days are yours, now, numbered,
to spend as you watch your life run out like milk
tipped and lost from a toddler’s cup.

What do you think?

About the Poet:

Amy Durant is a writer living in the Capital District of New York. She blogs frequently at her own site, Lucy’s Football, about far less serious things than this, and is lucky enough to write for Insatiable Booksluts about all things bookish. She is the artistic director for one of the many wonderful community theaters in her area and lives with a very cuddly but very spatially-impaired Siamese cat. Her book, Out of True, was published by Luna Station Press in August 2012. Follow her on Twitter.

For those interested in winning a paperback copy of Amy Durant’s book, just leave a comment by October 27, 2012 at 11:59PM EST.

Out of True by Amy Durant

Out of True by Amy Durant, blogger at Lucy’s Football, has a poignant dedication in the front:  “To everyone who doesn’t quite fit:  You do.  You will. Keep going.  You’re almost there.”  And in many ways, this dedication sets the tone for the collection.  There are a number of poems in the collection that talk about love and loss, but there also are those poems heavily focused on things and people that are just out of reach as the narrator continues to strive for the ultimate goal.

Durant has a frank style that not only clearly defines the poetic story, but also draws parallels from ancient myths and literature.  In “SYZYGY,” in which the moon and sun fall in love but are separated by the horizon, but Durant allows the celestial bodies to not only communicate through the tides and other messages.  The lines are written in the pattern of notes between married couples asking for the dishes to be washed and errands to be run.  But there is an undercurrent of disappointment as the narrator postulates that the sun will not rise and the evening will not bring the moon — the promises made that cannot be kept, like those between busy married couples and others that are forgotten or intentionally made knowing that they cannot be kept.

From "What We Build What We Destroy" (Page 20-21)

I like to build a fire; 
the ritual of it.  Placing the
small sticks, twisting the
paper, tenting the larger
logs.  The flames
licking around the edges,
teasing, like a schoolgirl
skipping along the edge
of a playground;

then the bite, the moment
the fish takes the bait, the
roaring upward, the rush,
the suck of air.  All eyes on
the dance of the flames.
I made this.  This thing that
can destroy:  I made this.

Readers will find her interplay of imagery fun, and perseverance becomes a strong message throughout the collection no matter if the narrator must let go of a past love or strive for a goal.  The cover ties the collection together with the stairway upward, signifying the struggle and the journey all at once with the light near the top of the stairs and the darkness below.  In many ways, this image demonstrates how each of us has a darkness in our lives that we journey away from, but at the same time that it can be present in the most enveloping way.  Particularly with the purposeful forgetting of high school memories in “Oubliette,” in which the narrator cannot catch up with those people she has forgotten even though the scars of what happened back then remain and are ever-present.  There is a truth in the forgetting that the narrator shares, illustration that the scars make up who she is even though she has forgotten the details of the faces of the perpetrators, which in itself may be a fallacy or a willful denial.

Out of True by Amy Durant is an emotional and insightful look at life’s travails and the decision to persevere and journey onward.  Durant’s debut poetry collection has a unique voice that highlights the harsh realities of life and love, but also the beauty of struggle and how it makes us not only who we become, but more than what we are.  Letting go is a must in this life, but also there must be a semblance of acceptance in order for humans to enjoy their lives, find joy, and evolve.

***Stay tuned tomorrow for an Amy Durant reading and giveaway***

About the Poet:

Amy Durant is a writer living in the Capital District of New York. She blogs frequently at her own site, Lucy’s Football, about far less serious things than this, and is lucky enough to write for Insatiable Booksluts about all things bookish. She is the artistic director for one of the many wonderful community theaters in her area and lives with a very cuddly but very spatially-impaired Siamese cat. Her book, Out of True, was published by Luna Station Press in August 2012.
This is the 20th book for my 2012 Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.



This is my 75th book for the New Authors Reading Challenge in 2012.


Mailbox Monday #193

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is BookNAround.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Edge of Oblivion: A Night Prowler Novel by J.T. Geissinger, which came unexpectedly from Wunderkind PR.

In a dark underground cell, Morgan Montgomery waits to die. A member of the Ikati, an ancient tribe of shape-shifters, Morgan stands convicted of treason. And Ikati law clearly spells out her fate: death to all who dare betray.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Thanks to her friendship with Jenna, the new queen of the Ikati, Morgan has one last chance to prove her loyalty. She must discover and infiltrate the headquarters of the Expurgari, the Ikati’s ancient enemy, so they can be destroyed once and for all. The catch? She has only a fortnight to complete her mission and will be accompanied by Xander Luna, the tribe’s most feared enforcer. If Morgan fails, her life is forfeit. Because Xander is as lethal as he is loyal, and no one—not even this beautiful, passionate renegade—will distract him from his mission. But as the pair races across Europe into the heart of Italy, the attraction blooming between them becomes undeniable. Suddenly more than justice is at stake: so is love.

2.  Bowling Avenue by Ann Shayne, which is from the author for review after a recommendation from Alma Katsu.

Welcome to 603 Bowling Avenue, a lush, empty Colonial Revival house tucked away in a leafy Nashville neighborhood. Who’s that in the ratty attic bedroom, holed up like a squirrel, writing real estate ads as fast as she can? Delia Ballenger, former Nashvillian. She’s back in town to sell the house that her tender-hearted big sister inexplicably left her after dying in a car crash. Delia needs to get back to Chicago as fast as possible. But uninvited people keep showing up at the front door: • Her mother, Grace Ballenger. Brilliant federal judge and the number-one reason Delia lives in another state. • A patrician and poorly socialized neighbor, Angus Donald. • Shelly Carpenter, the watchful housekeeper who raised Delia. • Brother-in-law Bennett Schwartz, a wretched surgeon, along with his girls Cassie and Amelia—the nieces she’s never known. • And, most vexing, a charming real estate agent, Henry Peek. Delia finds herself up to her eyeballs in a flood of mysteries, secrets, and the sort of love that sneaks up on you. For everyone who has muttered “You can’t go home again,” here’s what happens when you go anyway. You’ll laugh. You may cry, if you’re the weepy type. And you’ll cheer for Delia even as you wonder how she can eat a Pop-Tart as an entree. Like THE DESCENDANTS, BOWLING AVENUE is a story of learning how to let go, hold on–and bail water.

3.  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan for review from Riverhead Books in January.

1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.

4.  Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark for a TLC Book Tour this month.

London 1887. For Maribel Campbell Lowe, the beautiful bohemian wife of a maverick politician, it is the year to make something of herself. A self-proclaimed Chilean heiress educated in Paris, she is torn between poetry and the new art of photography. But it is soon plain that Maribel’s choices are not so simple. As her husband’s career hangs by a thread, her real past, and the family she abandoned, come back to haunt them both. When the notorious newspaper editor Alfred Webster begins to take an uncommon interest in Maribel, she fears he will not only destroy Edward’s career but both of their reputations.

Inspired by the true story of a politician’s wife who lived a double life for decades, Beautiful Lies is set in a time that, fraught with economic uncertainty and tabloid scandal-mongering, uncannily presages our own.

5.  Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely for review from Kaye Publicity.

A dedicated Anglophile and Janeite, Elizabeth Parker is hoping the trip to the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath will distract her from her lack of a job and her uncertain future with her boyfriend, Peter.

On the plane ride to England, she and Aunt Winnie meet Professor Richard Baines, a self-proclaimed expert on all things Austen. His outlandish claims that within each Austen novel there is a sordid secondary story is second only to his odious theory on the true cause of Austen’s death. When Baines is found stabbed to death in his Mr. Darcy costume during the costume ball, it appears that Baines’s theories have finally pushed one Austen fan too far. But Aunt Winnie’s friend becomes the prime suspect, so Aunt Winnie enlists Elizabeth to find the professor’s real killer. With an ex-wife, a scheming daughter-in-law, and a trophy wife, not to mention a festival’s worth of die-hard Austen fans, there are no shortage of suspects.

6. Out of True by Amy Durant for review and giveaway in October.

The poems in Out of True flow through stories of life and love, deep feeling and light perspective, all with a foundation in the elemental core of the human spirit. Amy’s poems speak to all of us with a bruised heart still willing to embrace hope and joy.

7. King Solomon’s Ring by Konrad Lorenz, which I purchased at Wonderbook for out book club discussion in November.

Solomon, the legend goes, had a magic ring which enabled him to speak to the animals in their own language. Konrad Lorenz was gifted with a similar power of understanding the animal world. He was that rare beast, a brilliant scientist who could write (and indeed draw) beautifully. He did more than any other person to establish and popularize the study of how animals behave, receiving a Nobel Prize for his work. King Solomon’s Ring, the book which brought him worldwide recognition, is a delightful treasury of observations and insights into the lives of all sorts of creatures, from jackdaws and water-shrews to dogs, cats and even wolves. Charmingly illustrated by Lorenz himself, this book is a wonderfully written introduction to the world of our furred and feathered friends, a world which often provides an uncanny resemblance to our own. A must for any animal-lover!

8. The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen, translated by K.E. Semmel, which I purchased at Novel Places.

In The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen introduced Detective Carl Mørck, a deeply flawed, brilliant detective newly assigned to run Department Q, the home of Copenhagen’s coldest cases. The result wasn’t what Mørck—or readers—expected, but by the opening of Adler-Olsen’s shocking, fast-paced follow-up, Mørck is satisfied with the notion of picking up long-cold leads. So he’s naturally intrigued when a closed case lands on his desk: A brother and sister were brutally murdered two decades earlier, and one of the suspects—part of a group of privileged boarding-school students—confessed and was convicted.

But once Mørck reopens the files, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Looking into the supposedly solved case leads him to Kimmie, a woman living on the streets, stealing to survive. Kimmie has mastered evading the police, but now they aren’t the only ones looking for her. Because Kimmie has secrets that certain influential individuals would kill to keep buried . . . as well as one of her own that could turn everything on its head.

Every bit as pulse-pounding as the book that launched the series, The Absent One delivers further proof that Jussi Adler-Olsen is one of the world’s premier thriller writers.

9. The Caller by Karin Fossum, translated by K.E. Semmel, which I also bought at Novel Places.

One mild summer evening, a young couple are enjoying dinner while their daughter sleeps peacefully in her stroller under a tree. When her mother steps outside she is stunned: The child is covered in blood.
Inspector Sejer is called to the hospital to meet the family. Mercifully, the child is unharmed, but the parents are deeply shaken, and Sejer spends the evening trying to understand why anyone would carry out such a sinister prank. Then, just before midnight, somebody rings his doorbell.
No one is at the door, but the caller has left a small gray envelope on Sejer’s mat. From his living room window, the inspector watches a figure disappear into the darkness. Inside the envelope Sejer finds a postcard bearing a short message: Hell begins now.

What did you receive?