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How does one explore the world of poetry? My current approach is to read Poetry magazine, earmark the poems that wow me, and search out the poets who wrote those poems. This is how I happened upon Gretchen Marquette's May Day--I read her poem "Want" and loved the direct, narrative quality of her work immediately. Happily, Gray Wolf Press, who published her first book in 2016, was generous enough to send me a copy of it to review.
December 31, 2016
It's the last day of 2016, can you believe it? I feel like the year has flown by. This year had its ups and downs like all years, though perhaps more downs than usual.
Below you'll find a roundup of my favorite outfits of the year divided by season as well as a roundup of the poetry I wrote and books I reviewed.
Here's to a Happy New Year's Eve, however you're celebrating, and a prosperous 2017. Happy New Year!
When I was in college, I had a crisis. At the end of my Sophomore year at the University of Michigan I was required to declare the degree I was pursuing. Until that point, at the earnest behest of many a well-meaning course counselor and several wonderfully dedicated Graduate Assistants, I had taken a broad variety of courses on any topic that piqued my interest. And I had many interests. I took courses in linguistics, medieval history, astronomy, the science of climic change, the economics of globalization, and even choir. You name it. So when I was asked to narrow it down to just one thing I had a full on melt-down. I eventually settled in on English as my major, but it was a tough choice.
Late in the dregs of 2014 I made a commitment: I would read and write more poetry. It's a commitment I'm happy to say I cleaved to for the duration of 2015--a commitment that was aided considerably by one simple act: subscribing to Poetry magazine.
Basho is the Shakespeare of haiku, and since I've been delving deeper into the study of Japanese poetry I figured it would be pure madness not to read through his major works. I ordered several of his books from Amazon a few months ago--admittedly without doing enough research--which included the Penguin Classic's version of The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Shambhala Classics version of Narrow Road to the Interior. Both copies included Basho's major works of travel writing. Both also included scholarly essays. Both, I realized as I read through them, featured the exact same work. As it turns out, "the Deep North" and "the Interior" are just different translations of the same title. After my initial disappointment--and facepalm--I found that it was well worth it to read two different translations of the same title, as my experience with each was quite different.
Now that the turkey has been roasted, the cranberry sauce poured, the pie devoured, it's officially time to start purchasing Christmas gifts. Let me invite you to consider gifting a few books this year. Books make for wonderful gifts, especially when you take the time to pick out something tailored to your giftee. I've broken down my top 20 books to give as gifts by genre...