Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

It was just brought to my attention that the famous truly Canadian poem David by Earle Birney is now online!

This is a poem read by Canadian high school students, and I think for the most part they actually enjoy it, because while it’s long, it’s a clear story in a setting that many of them know and understand.

And here it is, courtesy of the University of Toronto Libraries — annotated even!

A sample:

2 All week in the valley for wages, in air that was steeped
3 In the wail of mosquitoes, but over the sunalive weekends
5 Poker, the wrangling, the snoring under the fetid
6 Tents, and because we had joy in our lengthening coltish
7 Muscles, and mountains for David were made to see over,
8 Stairs from the valleys and steps to the sun’s retreats.
II
10 To a curling lake and lost the lure of the faceted
11 Cone in the swell of its sprawling shoulders. Past
12 The inlet we grilled our bacon, the strips festooned
13 On a poplar prong, in the hurrying slant of the sunset.
14 Then the two of us rolled in the blanket while round us the cold
15 Pines thrust at the stars. The dawn was a floating
17 To snow like fire in the sunlight. The peak was upthrust
18 Like a fist in a frozen ocean of rock that swirled
19 Into valleys the moon could be rolled in. Remotely unfurling
20 Eastward the alien prairie glittered. Down through the dusty
23 Strides. I remember, before the larches’ edge,
24 That I jumped a long green surf of juniper flowing
26 Spilled on the moss. Then the darkening firs
27 And the sudden whirring of water that knifed down a fern-hidden
28 Cliff and splashed unseen into mist in the shadows.
It goes on…a story of friendship and tragedy and growth. Truly quite spellbinding for a poem.
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This fabulous video-fied talk of Stephen Fry‘s reminded me this morning of what I find fabulous about language:

I may get itchy Sharpie fingers when I see signs with inappropriately-placed apostrophes, and I still geek-out to things like my friend’s t-shirt that reads “Does anal retentive have a hyphen?” [Answer: depends on your style sheet?], but give me rich, frenzied writing any day over the terse and uptight.

Give me the verbal lushness and inconsistency of spelling and punctuation of Keri Hulme’s The Bone People (which I’ve already blogged about here)….

…. or the crazy richness of image that is The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (again, previously blogged here)….

…. or the rich neologisms of Earle Birney (see AngloSaxon Street in this post).

Your favourites?

Lori

My #1 pleasure in life? Browsing in a bookstore, esp. a second-hand bookstore, or one with piles of discount, ‘remaindered’ books…I love the never knowing of rummaging these piles.

Anyone else with me? (If you’re ever in Victoria, check out Munro’s Books, for those sale tables and extensive selection of new books)

Today’s treasures:

The Book of Martyrdom & Artifice: First Journals and Poems 1937-1952, Allen Ginsberg.

Random excerpt (p168 in my copy):

“January 13 [1947]

Tried tea and junk tonite for second time.

Hip conversation:

“You bug me.”

“I bug you?”

“Yeah, you bug me.”

“I bug you.”

“You bet you bug me.”

“Well, you bug me.”

“So, I bug you.”

Hmm. Art?

I also picked up Rita Mae Brown‘s memoir, Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser. First couple of chapters are fun…but then her writing is always fun.

Well, I seem to have been in a gay mood, now that I look at it. Must have been the discussion this morning over breakfast about the local baker who discriminates against those of alternate sexual persuasion. Guess where I don’t buy cupcakes?

Lori

Where do you pile your books? My hubby and I have piles on our bedside tables mostly, then some in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room…and they all live in the basement library/movie/party room (technically the ‘family room’).

The other day I was tidying the bedroom, and emptied the already-read and not-going-to-get-read-soon books off the two bedside tables:

Putting books away...

Then, I pulled books from the living room and kitchen to complete the tidy:

More books being put away..

This post for your voyeuristic enjoyment.

Tags: , ,

Well, it’s happened again…I’ve received another box of books to review (here’s a list of the previous batch, and the one before).

This time they look like a lovely mix: 4 books of short stories, 1 memoir, 1 poetry/novel, 2 novels.

Short Stories

Cobalt Blue by Mary Borsky (Thomas Allen Publishers) — Judging this book by its cover, I’d say it’ll be mighty good. Lovely hand-holding size, good design, a trade paper with useful jacket-flaps. (A note to the publishers — your page for the book didn’t google well.) (Reviewed at Quill and Quire here.)

Silent Girl by Tricia Dower (Inanna Publications) — Wow. A quick google of this book title exposes me to something new, unexpected: A moving book trailer on YouTube.

I’m absolutely flumoxed. Tricia, me girl, that was inspired. I’m now terribly eager to read the book. (Book publishers/authors, take note: this woman knows how to market a book on the Internet!).

Out of Cleveland by Lolette Kuby (Véhicule Press) — A slim book with a very simple, unpretentious cover. I’m a sucker for short stories by women about women, so add that to the author’s background as a poet, I’m looking forward to this collection too.

I must admit, this post is turning into a “Who wins on the Internet marketing front?” — and here’s one that has almost no presence. To get anywhere, you have to put the title in quotes. Publisher — pay attention! I had to search for your site separately! (Hopeless, as web-un-savvy as this group is, they will likely not see this post. Unlike Tricia, above, who will be visiting me shortly, I’m sure!)

Red Rooms by Cherie Dimaline (Theytus Books) — Theytus Books is a small publisher, but all of the books I’ve seen are beautifully designed. I’m a little biased, as this publisher is in my town. Being from them, I do know that the author must be First Nations — and looking at the jacket, the stories are about the “urban Native people.” Another book to look forward to.

Memoir

The Way It Was: Vignettes from My One-Room Schools by Edith Van Kleek (University of Calgary Press) — Beautifully designed cover, readable text, nice heft to the book…I know I’ll enjoy this one. The author wrote notes throughout her career, and her daughter has now edited them into this book. (On the Internet marketing scale, this one doesn’t even rate. Note to authors — don’t expect a university publisher to market your book!)

Poetry/Novel

The Given by Daphne Marlatt (McClelland & Stewart) — I would expect Daphne Marlatt, who’s been writing poetry and novels for years, to have a good publisher (which she does)…and that publisher to have decent web-savvy (and they do). Even with the name of this poetry novel being rather common, the book’s page googled up on the first page. Of course, I’m looking forward to reading this offering.

Novels

The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee (Vintage Canada – Random House) — I would expect Random House to be up-to-date on the whole web marketing issue, and they are. Search the phrase end of east and it’s the first hit. Well done! 2nd place prize to Random House. The novel itself looks lovely — a generational piece on Vancouver’s Chinatown. Can’t wait.

Living with the Dead by Karen Armstrong (Random House) — Armstrong has a series of her Otherworld books out, and while I’ve not read any (yet), I have heard of her. Random House didn’t do as well for this author, but her own website is informative, listing her books. Bronze medal for web marketing.

I will try to post something other than my first impressions as I read the books. Please feel free to ask me directly for feedback.

And Tricia? Stop and say hi! 😀

I’ve bleated on enough about the last package of books I received to review, so I won’t go into that again.

Without further ado, in no particular order (other than the order they are piled on my desk), here are some Canadian books published in 2008 that you should keep your eyes peeled for:

Anything by Shauna Singh Baldwin. I have in my pile two books of short stories — the re-published English Lessons and Other Stories (with Readers’ Guide), and a new collection called We are not in Pakistan. Both are wonders of cross-cultural exploration, lovely stories of very real people. I see from her website that she has also written two novels…worth checking out.

Under the Holy Lake: A memoir of Eastern Bhutan by Ken Haigh is a highly readable introduction to Bhutan, a country that the average person knows little about. Haigh spent a soul-searching 2 years teaching in Khaling, a small village in the far eastern reaches of an already inaccessible country. This book will leave you with a lasting impression of the country and its people.

Shirin and Salt Man by Nilofar Shidmehr is a book that takes you by surprise. [By the way, a note to all authors…ensure that you or your book has its own dedicated page somewhere — in the Internet age, you need to stand out and be linked to!] It’s a novella in poetic form, tying the legends of Iran to the modern day. I read it through the first time, fascinated by the poetry and the images; the second time, fascinated by the story; and the third time sent me to the Internet to research the legends of Shirin and the discovery of the Salt Man in the 80s.

I’ll leave you there, with more to come. Plus, I will point out a couple of books to avoid…there are days when I despair at the state of Canada’s publishing! (Do I despair or rejoice in the knowledge that anyone can get published?!?)

So, have you read Moby Dick?

I haven’t, and it’s not been on my mental TBR pile either.

Now I don’t have to read it, because over at MadHaiku’s place, he’s done the reading for us, with an illustrated haiku summary to inspire you to read it, or at least see the movie!

I wonder what he’ll come up with next!

Enjoy!


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!