Gahan Wilson is an illustrator who, as his book promises, is pretty weird. But he's fun to listen to when you have the chance to meet him, and his ill...moreGahan Wilson is an illustrator who, as his book promises, is pretty weird. But he's fun to listen to when you have the chance to meet him, and his illustrations often are idioms taken to logical extremes or puns on paper. It's fun to flip through this collection of previously published comics, and I can't wait to get it signed next week.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this collection of poems. It's separated into three sections, with many shorter poems included. Some of them aren't as fun...moreI have mixed feelings about this collection of poems. It's separated into three sections, with many shorter poems included. Some of them aren't as funny as they're intended to be (I happen to like semicolons and dislike colons and exclamation points, and Lux never uses the former but always uses the latter), and many just aren't poignant enough to warren poetic topics, I think.
However, clearly Lux has a good ear and can write some really good lines. One of my favorite poems was, in fact, the title poem, and the rest mainly fall within the second section of the book. I can't really figure out how the three sections logically fit together, but I'm willing to read along anyway (although I was, at times, skimming).
One things I truly dislike is a poem that uses the title as its first line. And I don't meant that the title and first line are the same (I'm fine with that), but the title actually leads into the first "line" of the poem. And maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of Lux's poems do that, including the first one--which is especially awkward, as there's a dedication literally between the title and that "first" line, which makes for some difficult reading very early on.
Still, I prefer the length of these poems, and at times they surprise me when they travel to unexpected places as they conclude. I have to read more by Lux to judge how indicative this is of his work in general.(less)
Most of these poems either I've read before myself or have heard Collins read aloud. That would be, of course, because this is a collection of poems f...moreMost of these poems either I've read before myself or have heard Collins read aloud. That would be, of course, because this is a collection of poems from previous books as well as poems that were new upon this book's publication. Quite frankly, I think this was published because Collins didn't have enough poems for a new collection of poetry but still wanted to get something out around the time he was poet laureate.
Anyway, I might have rated this better had more of my favorites been included in this collection. Some, of course, are better than others; I was glad, for example, that "On Turning Ten" and "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes" were included, but some of the earlier poems aren't as strong as many of the later ones. Also, I got tired or reading poems about teaching writing or writing poems, as well as poems about listening to music or poems that are too obviously funny. The best poems are the ones that lead you places where you don't expect to go and resonate in your mind even after you've put the book away. There just weren't as many as I'd hoped for, and I think I'd rather just reread the books of poetry that Collins wrote that I already have.(less)
This book was published about twenty-five years ago. It's divided into three sections and includes poems that are very traditional: they have regular...moreThis book was published about twenty-five years ago. It's divided into three sections and includes poems that are very traditional: they have regular meter, line length, stanza size, and poetic devices (end rhyme, alliteration, etc.). They also tend to be very personal, if not exactly confessional.
I think that the strongest poems are those contained in the third section of the book. The title poem is the only one in section two, as it is a fairly long poem on its own, and begins, presumably, on the night of Pinsky's conception. Death is a common theme carrying itself throughout the poems in the book, but not every poems deals with it explicitly.
I'm not sure if I can see or hear any echos of William Carlos Williams in this book, but it won the prize names after him. It's an obvious choice for those who prefer traditional poetic styles and themes, though, and this is a pretty good book of poems by a former poetic laureate of the country.(less)
This is quite a good collection of poems, even though the variety is a bit of a hindrance. I kept thinking of poets like William Carols Williams and W...moreThis is quite a good collection of poems, even though the variety is a bit of a hindrance. I kept thinking of poets like William Carols Williams and W. D. Snodgrass in terms of Meats' structure. His images are his own, and they are tight, stark, and pretty impressive.
The shorter, "experimental" ones are interesting but perhaps would be better as a submission for a literary magazine or journal (only because they take away from the more traditional poems that can be found in the book). I wish I knew more about the midwest and its animal life, because it features prominently in collection, and my own ignorance keeps me from appreciating it as it's meant to be. Still, these poems are imaginative and insightful, and really quite beautiful.(less)
An impressive collection of poems by a Delaware poet. Many already have been published in journals and magazines, but some of my favorites (including...moreAn impressive collection of poems by a Delaware poet. Many already have been published in journals and magazines, but some of my favorites (including "Acceptance") were not. For the most part, her lines were quite good (if, at times, long) and had not-overbearing sound and rhythm qualities that carried over into other lines, and several themes and images repeated themselves in interesting ways.
My biggest complaint is more about the layout and editing than the poems themselves. For example, in some cases first letters in a couple words that begin sentences are not capitalized or lines that logically should have been broken were not (although, to be fair, that could just be me willfully misinterpreting what I'm reading). A prose poem is included as well (ostensible, this is what led the poet to choose the title for her collection), although it didn't feel like it fit in with many of the other poems in the collection. Otherwise, this is a well-written compilation of good poems from a local (for me) writer. (less)
This is not a book for a casual reader who simply wants to skip to the "good parts" of some books. Instead, this is a well-researched guide for writer...moreThis is not a book for a casual reader who simply wants to skip to the "good parts" of some books. Instead, this is a well-researched guide for writers who want to write convincing, realistic sex scenes that will be included in stories that involve a much larger context.
This is written in a how-to fashion, by setting up the overall premise of the book, talking about different scenarios that logically would include sex, and offering examples (from novels and short stories) of successful sex scenes and interviews with some of the writers who wrote them. At the very end, there even are a couple pages that include helpful exercises for those who want to practice writing about sexual encounters in various ways.
The version I read was the revised version. A couple notable updates include the chapter concerning writing about sex in the AIDS age and the chapter on solo/cybersex. There are potions that are a bit repetitive, in that some of the same interview quotes (albeit helpful ones) are used several times and several of the same books are referred to for examples over and over again. Then again, even though it may seem tedious to note in every single chapter that the scenes always should reflect the characters included in them, sometimes writers forget that and go for titillation when dialog or additional character development may be necessary (so the reminder is, in fact, a necessary one).
Written in a style that begets the content, this book is useful for writers who need to overcome the "uncomforts" of writing about sex so that they can just do it, so to speak.(less)
A collection of fourteen short stories that range in scope, point of view, and situation. As with most of Hegi's work, not for the faint of heart; she...moreA collection of fourteen short stories that range in scope, point of view, and situation. As with most of Hegi's work, not for the faint of heart; she does some experimental things, to varying degrees of success, that might cause confusion for the casual reader.
The stories have to do mainly with strained or awkward relationships, particularly with children and their parents, and these are not necessarily resolved by the end of the respective stories. (Not that we always want them to be.) Additional editing and formatting issues I wish would have been taken care of; there weren't many, but enough to make them noticeable.
Favorite stories for me tended to be the most gut-wrenching. "Tina's Room," "Where Are You Going?" and "Windows" stand out as the top three in this collection. These stories are so fully packed with emotion that they make me nervous about approaching Hegi's novel-length fiction.(less)
Not as depressing as one might think. Writes mainly about his father, dogs, and mental illness. The collection is short, as are most of the poems (exc...moreNot as depressing as one might think. Writes mainly about his father, dogs, and mental illness. The collection is short, as are most of the poems (except the last one, which takes up the length of about half of the book). Not formal poetry necessarily, but definitely structured (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Tone shifts slightly from poem to poem, but we can see where the main focus of the majority of poems lies. Good read for those with interest in Schultz's work.(less)
Alda's first book was better than his second, but since he writes the way he speaks (and I like the way he speaks) I still rated this fairly high. It...moreAlda's first book was better than his second, but since he writes the way he speaks (and I like the way he speaks) I still rated this fairly high. It almost seems like this book was an excuse to print graduation speeches Alda gave over the course of his life, since all but two or three of the anecdotal stories contain, in full, graduation speeches he gave over the last thirty or so years. But there is one chapter where he recorded three eulogies, and two others where he simply talks about his family.
He does tie in the speeches with events that he's been thinking or has thought about and ties them together with social commentary or philosophical views. In the end, he doesn't give us the meaning of life (which he sort of promises at the book's preface, but he encourages us to live fully meaningful lives. He also talks about things he's done that have given his life more meaning.
At about the middle of the book (which is where the same thing happened in Beet), he talks about his "Forward Motion" speech he gives at Southampton every year or so (which I saw last year as well as this year), so I felt even more like this book was a bit of cashing-in on his recycling of his materials but, again, Alda is so likable and funny and genuine that I almost don't care.
Quick read (I finished in about a day, as it's only around 200 pages long), funny stuff, meaningful questions (if many go without answers), and positive tone. Great read for fans of Alda and his work.(less)
Basically the same as the "adult" version except for a couple passages. What differs significantly, however, is that these pictures are bright and bea...moreBasically the same as the "adult" version except for a couple passages. What differs significantly, however, is that these pictures are bright and beautiful. My only concern is that there are some pages full of text and others with very little at all, which, I think, is a bit of a flaw for a children's book. (less)
Cute story, quick read. Not sure how the "adult" version differs from the "children's" version yet (as I'm still waiting to get that copy), but the bo...moreCute story, quick read. Not sure how the "adult" version differs from the "children's" version yet (as I'm still waiting to get that copy), but the book is total, typical McCourt. The pictures were a little dark and not as expressive as I'd have liked, but I'm sure that will be the main difference between the two editions that were released.(less)
Not as funny as Lapham Rising, but it's still completely a Rosenblatt yarn (so still enjoyable for those who like his stuff). The novel's saving grace...moreNot as funny as Lapham Rising, but it's still completely a Rosenblatt yarn (so still enjoyable for those who like his stuff). The novel's saving grace comes at almost its exact midpoint (chapter 9), when Professor Peace Porterfield waxes poetic in his poetry classroom (ah, sweet irony).
The real reason I love this chapter is because this IS Rosenblatt in a classroom teaching. He did the closing-the-door assignment in a workshop I took (or at least talked about it; it was four years ago so my memory is cheating me at the moment), and now he's basically giving it to any teacher/professor who reads this novel. Which is the sort of thing a good college professor (such as the one he "created" in Porterfield) would do.
I originally thought that the collegiate setting would have been of interest to me (as I one day would like to be a tenured college professor, despite the antagonism of today's economy being completely against me at the moment), but, alas, reading about Long Island somehow seemed more interesting in Lapham Rising. And I don't even live there.
But then again, I like Porterfield so much (I practically aspire to be that professor myself) that I couldn't help but keep reading, if only to see if he could save the college and, if he did, if he would bother to stay there in the end. The college politics I read about scared me (simply because the novel exaggerates them doesn't mean they don't exist), but I love reading and teaching literature so much that even the reality of those politics makes me hope that they at least won't get any worse. At least we can laugh about it?(less)
This is a Collins collection that contains some of my very favorite poems: "The Best Cigarette," "On Turning Ten," "My Heart," and "Dear Reader." I've...moreThis is a Collins collection that contains some of my very favorite poems: "The Best Cigarette," "On Turning Ten," "My Heart," and "Dear Reader." I've read or listen to them about a dozen or more times, but that doesn't make them any less moving.
One of the things Collins does that can grate a reader's nerves is write about writing (what's that poetic term called again?), over and over, but otherwise his poems are thoughtful and at least somewhat deeper than surface level.
Pretty much anything published by the Pitt Poetry Series will be good, but this collection of Collins's poetry is some of his best. (less)