At the summer UNCC writing project one of my fellow participants told me about Jay-Z's Decoded. I'm not one to really listen to a lot of rap or hip-hoAt the summer UNCC writing project one of my fellow participants told me about Jay-Z's Decoded. I'm not one to really listen to a lot of rap or hip-hop, but I'm not particularly opposed to it. I liked the idea of digging into a rapper's mind, and finding out how they went about composing their work. I think passages from this would be terrific to use in the classroom. I read the e-version and I think I might get the print version because reading the footnotes (and there are a lot of them when working with they lyrics) on an ereader became a bit tedious. I took a lot of notes, but one I was particularly drawn to works well with an assignment I've given before to discuss whether all poetry can be considered a lyric and vice versa. Jay-Z writes, "It's been said that the thing that makes rap special, that makes it different both from pop music and from written poetry, is that it's built around two kinds of rhythm. The first kind of rhythm is the meter. In poetry, the meter is abstract, but in rap, the meter is something you literarlly hear: it's the beat." Etc. We could start a whole discussion just off that quote....more
This was the very first book I read on my brand new Kindle Fire (an early Christmas gift this year).
My rating, in some ways, is not completely fair tThis was the very first book I read on my brand new Kindle Fire (an early Christmas gift this year).
My rating, in some ways, is not completely fair to the book itself because the book itself is nearly a 5, however, the format of the book on the kindle notched it down just a tad into the 4 range.
Let's talk about the book first: hysterical! I came across "The Oatmeal" website when planning a lesson on the semi-colon for my students. I bought a 2012 calendar based on several of the comics and I think I want to get the poster of just the semi-colon section to put up in my office. Not all of the comics are grammar related and might be deemed a little low-brow by some (like guys peeing in a public restroom . . . ), but I still enjoyed the book. I found myself laughing out loud at quite a few of the jokes so my childish humor was satisfied this holiday season.
The reason I have to mark the book down just a bit for its appearance on the Kindle is that you could not zoom in and some of the text was quite small. Granted, I have reading classes right now and perhaps I could have read it on my computer, but I think that is something the publisher should think about when releasing any further comic/graphic type books for devices with non-huge iPad type screens.
Read a few samples and then pick up a copy for you or someone else for fun!...more
Ellaraine Lockie is a gifted poet and her craft is best viewed in a chapbook. I have read quite a few of Lockie's chapbooks and her 2011 release from.Ellaraine Lockie is a gifted poet and her craft is best viewed in a chapbook. I have read quite a few of Lockie's chapbooks and her 2011 release from.Finishing Line Press "Wild as in Familiar" is as skilled as any I.have read by her before.
Just sit for a moment with the title and consider the layers within it because that's what Lockie does in this collection-layers.
These poems have Lockie's signature unpunctuated style and touch on the wild in nature, in our inside natures, and in the world of literature that helps us to understand those natures.
My favorite poem is probably "A Perfect Storm" with its references to frogs falling from the sky and Christmas.
All in all this is a strong collection even though a few poems near the end felt almost preachy but isn't that part of the poets "job" to speak up to what makes them thrum and be wild .......more
I picked up this memoir after hearing the author speak at the NC Writer's Conference in July of 2011 in Asheville, NC. It says something for how interI picked up this memoir after hearing the author speak at the NC Writer's Conference in July of 2011 in Asheville, NC. It says something for how interesting he was as a speaker that I picked up a memoir about Vietnam - a topic I've never read much about even though my father and his brothers served in the Navy during the war.
"Two of the Missing" is a pretty quick read. The memoir recounts the partying and daredevil activities of several reporters/photographers during the war. The author was also over there covering the war, but you don't really learn a lot about the author. He is more like a fly on the way recounting the escapades of his two friends: one of whom was the son of Errol Flynn.
This mix of memoir verus biography makes this book a little hard to peg and I wondered what kind of review or perspective I could give on a topic that is so far from me. Then I thought: what would it have been like if I had written a memoir when I was quite young (this was originally published in 1975) about my formative years? Would I have also jumped around a bit in the narrative? I think of my first full length book of poetry . . . and yes, we all grow.
"Two of the Missing" makes me want to do a bit more reading about the war. I'd like to pick up a few books written from different perspectives. Suggestions, in any genre, are appreciated :) ...more
Terrific resource from the UNC-Charlotte branch of the National Writing Project. I knew I wanted to start using daybooks after attending the summer inTerrific resource from the UNC-Charlotte branch of the National Writing Project. I knew I wanted to start using daybooks after attending the summer institute and having the chance to use one myself. Daybooks can be used at any grade level (I teach at the community college level) and I look forward to trying many of the exerices, especially the multi-genre one on page 49.
I really enjoyed the first book in the Gemma Doyle series and this sectino volume didn't disappoint. It started a bit slow. There was a lot of - hey tI really enjoyed the first book in the Gemma Doyle series and this sectino volume didn't disappoint. It started a bit slow. There was a lot of - hey this is what happened in the first book - that became a bit tedious but that started to fall away once Gemma goes to London for Christmas. The book really picks up steam and actually surprised me a few times. I see mixed reviews for the 3rd book, but I am invested in these characters enough that I will definitely pick up the 3rd book.
On a side note, I really liked the underlying themes of gender, race, and class that Bray works into this book. I look forward to seeing how that pans out in the 3rd book....more
This is a hard one for me to review as I haven't been reading a lot of "business world" type books in the last few years as I moved into a more academThis is a hard one for me to review as I haven't been reading a lot of "business world" type books in the last few years as I moved into a more academic world. That being said, I used to read a lot of these.
The point of the book is to point out possibilities for small changes that can make big differences. The authors (brothers) use a lot of examples from the corporate world, but I could see parallels (and some writing topics) that could be pulled into academea.
This is a pretty quick read (as a good business book should be). The only negative I'd really say about this one is that it is a bit of a compilation, which is fully acknowledged in the copious notes. The authors were pulling together a lot of buzz words/topics from around the self-help business industry. I guess that isn't too different from any "anthologizing."
Not as strong as say "Freakonomics" but an interesting read. ...more
I love to take notes when I read; although I found myself so wrapped up in Mel Bosworth's first novel "Freight" that I only have a handful of notes. YI love to take notes when I read; although I found myself so wrapped up in Mel Bosworth's first novel "Freight" that I only have a handful of notes. You know, however, that you truly enjoyed a book when one of your first notes is: devestatingly beautiful.
The narrator of "Freight" has had a lot to carry. He is, perhaps, as worn as the cover so artfully looks, but that just means he is broken in. As I have been teaching my composition students this week: this narrator has reflected and shown us insight. We learn from this narrator because we also carry a lot of that cliched baggage. Mel talks about those bags and is able to avoid the cliche.
I doubt my words here are doing justice to Mel's book or to the work that Folded Word put into it. (Full disclosure is that Folded Word also released my first poetry collection).
Besides the beautiful craftmanship of the physical book, and the amazing skill of the author, there is also this terrific idea of an almost choose your own adventure feel to the book. You have to pick it up to see what I mean. That part I'll let you find for yourself. But, I will give you at least one taste of the book with this quote:
Then, when the snow falls, it means everything is put down and everything is new. And the snowmen that are still standing get a clean blanket which they appreciate because even snowmen get cold.
And Mel even makes fun of poets at one point in the book , yet the lyric quality of his words are oh so very poetic :) Thanks, Mel and Folded Word for this terrific book both inside and out. I know I'll be re-reading it very soon!...more
It is never an easy task to even consider writing a review of a book written by one of your favorite writers, especially when that writer also becameIt is never an easy task to even consider writing a review of a book written by one of your favorite writers, especially when that writer also became one of your teachers . . .
But, sinking into the wonderful poems in Cathy Smith Bowers new and selected collection "Like Shining from Shook Foil" was like coming home.
I came across Cathy's work while I was researching graduate schools and I'm thrilled that I had a chance to work with such a wonderful Southern writer and teacher. I can say I knew her before she was poet laureate, right? :)
I wasn't as familiar with Cathy's early writing and that is, perhaps, the reason this book was such a great gift for me to read. I loved going back to her early work and reading as her writing grew. Will I be as fortunate, someday, do have a collected work release? Will that show how I developed as a writer?
One thing that is in most of Cathy's poem (despite the year they were written) is a touch of humor.
It would be very difficult for me to narrow down a favorite (or favorites) poem from this collection but I found myself re-reading "The Promise" where Cathy writes, " . . . between these words and whatever was to come, / we felt our skits and khakis / flare out around our thighs, lengthen." There is a joke (and more beautiful imagery) built around these lines, but I'll let you pick out a copy of the book to find out what the rest says for yourself!...more
I purchased this book (made a nice trade for it actually!) because I may teach composition now, but it wasn't the focus of my undergraduate or graduatI purchased this book (made a nice trade for it actually!) because I may teach composition now, but it wasn't the focus of my undergraduate or graduate studies.
I didn't read every single article in this collection from beginning to end, but I did skim and take notes on each one. I found a nice variety of history related to composition studies as well as practical discussions on everything from digital writing to identify formation through the process of writing.
This book will remain in my office as a resource and I recommend it for anyone who is teaching (or thinking of teaching) composition, especially those of us who focused on creative writing and may not have had extensive studies in composition pedagogy. ...more
This is hard book for me to even consider rating and reviewing because, full disclosure, Sally was one of my favorite MFA teachers.
That being said, IThis is hard book for me to even consider rating and reviewing because, full disclosure, Sally was one of my favorite MFA teachers.
That being said, I was torn between rating this book as a 4 or 5 because it is a hard book. I don't mean necessarily hard material or even words that perhaps you won't understand, but these are complex poems.
Reading a poet (or other type of writer) who doesn't write like you do, however, can be an insightful and important step in your study of poetry. I could never dream of writing like Sally and I shouldn't. We have very, very different styles. Yet, there were poems in this collection that I went back and read multiple times because certain lines would just catch me. Sally's poems have a unique way of speaking and seeing the world.
My favorite poems are probably the series that are each titled Note and then a specific date (without year). In "Note: 03 January" Keith writes, "Air / molecules, rind-like, hold / hollowed yellow glare." Come on? That is just brilliantly dense.
I'm glad I took the time to read this award winning book, but the one question I find myself raising is: would I have stuck with it if I did not know the author since the poems are so dense?
Why bother reviewing, commenting on a book that is already so popular and famous? Well, I just wanted to note a few thoughts because I did find the boWhy bother reviewing, commenting on a book that is already so popular and famous? Well, I just wanted to note a few thoughts because I did find the book to be engrossing. I often read 10 pages here in a book, pick up another etc, but I felt compelled to read this book in long sessions even though the language was so rich I often found myself stopping to re-read whole paragraphs just because the wording was so beautiful.
This isn't a novel of surprises. This is truly a book where the journey is the point more so than the destination.
Here is an example of some of the writing: Creedless shells of men tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland.
If you are a fan (interested) in dystopian novels than this is definitely one I'd recommend. ...more