Wednesday, December 28, 2011

52 Poetry Books on the Wall

At the beginning of 2011, a group of us on Twitter made resolutions to read 52 books of poetry this year, as suggested by Larry Lawrence, aka @TheAmericanPoet, and who accomplished his goal. We all followed along using #52poetry and I am happy for the little community we built as we shared the books we were reading and discovered some new poets through recommendations.

And I'm doing it again in 2012! And adding one fiction book a month to the line-up.

Here's my #52poetry list for 2011:

Curses and Wishes by Carl Adamshick
Enter chapbook by Robert Lee Brewer
Escape chapbook by Robert Lee Brewer
Paper House by Jessie Carty
All of Us by Raymond Carver
Flies by Michael Dickman
Lighthead by Terrance Hayes
After by Jane Hirshfield
Come, Thief by Jane Hirshfield
When the Only Light is Fire by Saeed Jones
Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa
What Learning Leaves by Taylor Mali
The Memory of Water by Jack Myers
Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye
Transfer by Naomi Shihab Nye
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
Next Extinct Mammal by Ruben Quesada
Above the Hum of the Yellow Jackets chapbook Jackets by Carol Stephen
Come On All You Ghosts by Matthew Zapruder

That's 23 books, and I know I've forgotten a few, but I didn't start keeping a list until mid-year. (I know better for this year.) And I'm currently a quarter of the way through Tess Gallagher's Midnight Lantern.

Also, I read all issues of Poetry Magazine along with a number of excellent literary journals. And I added two new subscriptions for 2012.

What was on your reading list this year? Any favorites? And what is on your list for 2012?

Happy reading, Andrea

Monday, December 19, 2011

Decking the Halls

As I finish wrapping, decorating, and decking the halls with many other projects, I wanted to offer a "Wrap Up" of sorts for my blog this year.

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who visits and reads my blog and graciously offers feedback and insight. You all have enriched my life.

I started a two new traditions this year. One was to keep a daily journal of one thing I appreciate/love about my husband. I am working this week on compiling it all into a book for him just in time for his birthday on the 28th. While it is a gift for him, it was undoubtedly a wonderful gift for myself in that it made me focus on the positive daily. 2011 has been a tough year for us as we have tried to start a family and this journal helped me keep perspective on the incredible man in my life and what we have built together over the past eight years.

We also began a new tradition last night of Christmas light strolling through Eastridge. We bundled up in scarves and gloves, filled the thermos up with tea (we've decided on hot chocolate for next year), and off we went to gaze at all the creative light displays a few neighborhoods away. We even saw a jeep driving through all lit up. I regret not taking my camera!

One tradition that has been going strong for nearly a decade now is baking with my mom on Christmas Eve. We load the CD player with Christmas albums, we pour ourselves some sparkling white wine, and bake the night away. Rum cakes, red velvet cookies, lemon bars, fudge, turtles, the list goes on...It is my favorite way to spend time with my mom. The sweets are endless and so are the memories.

For some book reading: Letras Latinas shared a wonderful blog post on poetry collections published this year by a Latino or Latina poets. My reading list just grew.

For a fun blog reading: A wildly creative person with an equally creative "old school literary yearbook" whose rock band I want to be in.

For inspiration: Jodi Picoult's essay, "To my 16-year-old self" which begins with, "Since everyone is always telling you what's important in life, I'm going to tell you what isn't." One word: Incredible.

What are your holiday traditions? Any you care to start? And what's on your reading list?

I look forward to seeing you all in 2012!

Love, peace, joy and hope to you all, Andrea

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry: A Livelihood or a Way of Life

This week, The The Poetry sent the thought-provoking article "Livelihoods of the Poets" from New York Magazine into my timeline. I had to read it a couple of times to let it sink in.

I'm disappointed to see this article did not include a unit of measure along the lines of "Reward for following poetry (or any other writing) as your passion: PRICELESS," or "Reward for poetry as a way of life: IMMEASURABLE."

What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2011

What Would Your Snapshot Be?

I'm a fan of The New York Time's "Poetry Pairing" series. This past week, Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers" was paired up with reader-submitted photographs as a "visual time capsule" of sorts. A creative and admirable pairing, I think.

What photo would you offer for this pairing?

Mine is a photograph of my Godchild Penelope creating her "mini-art" over the weekend. For me, she is a perfect pairing of hope and art in many senses of both words.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Parting with a Book

A few months ago, I began writing a found poem after each poetry collection I read. It started with Anne Sexton's Transformations and moved on to Naomi Shihab Nye's Transfer along with Jane Hirshfield's Come, Thief. I try to capture my favorite moments within each book and weave them into something for myself and further reflection. It's become my way of letting go of the book, a sweet parting of ways for now.

Currently, I'm on the last chapter of Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. I'm thinking about extending my found poem tradition to fiction books too.

What are you reading right now and what do you do once you've finished with a book?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Mahalo wanted to help decorate the tree by eating ornaments...

The tree is aglow!

Last night, the tree was adorned. This is my favorite part of Christmas decorating. Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey serenaded us from their Christmas albums as we hung ornaments and sipped on spiked Egg Nog.

It's not quite the "glitter-gold" tree I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog, but I sure made a good effort and I love that it glows as brightly as I wanted when purchasing all those iridescent glass ornaments. And I couldn't go without keeping some personal ornaments on there.

Yes, that is an Elvis ornament hanging on the lower left of the tree. There are three to be exact, one that plays "I'll Be Home for Christmas," my favorite Elvis Christmas song. (Ok, ok. They are ALL my "favorite.") 

The final touch is always placing the angel atop the tree, the same tree-topper I used to see on my family's tree each year while growing up. I loved her so much, my mom saved her and gifted her to me a few years back. The tree wouldn't be Christmas without her.

How do you like to decorate your tree? Do you have a real tree or an imitation one? What is one thing your tree can't be without?

And I found a lovely poem by Robert Frost for this occasion: Christmas Trees.

Happy decorating!