Friday, April 29, 2016

"Anne of Windy Poplars" by L. M. Montgomery

When I was a teen, this was my favorite Anne book.  I think Anne of Green Gables may have edged it out for me now, but it's almost too close to call.  I do know this book is the main reason why I have such a fondness for epistolary novels.  However, I was surprised to discover that it's not entirely written in long, chatty letters from Anne to Gilbert -- there are several chapters sprinkled throughout that are entirely written in the third person by a narrator like the first three books in the series.

In this one, Anne and Gilbert are engaged to be married, but Gilbert needs to finish medical school before they can be married, so Anne takes a job being the principal at a high school in a town called Summerside that is ruled by a clannish family by the name of Pringle.  At first, the Pringles resent her, but eventually, she wins them over, along with every other crank, coot, and misanthrope in the town.

I think what I like best about this book is how kindness and compassion play such a big role.  Really, the tagline for it could be "Have courage, and be kind."  Does Anne surmount basically every obstacle anyone can throw in her way?  Yes, she does.  How?  By being kind and compassionate toward everyone, whether they are nice to her or not.  Over and over, she makes a kind gesture, or shows some extra patience, or tries to befriend someone friendless, and the end result is that an antagonist thaws out, unbends, or turns out not to be as curmudgeonly as previously rumors had painted them.  How can I help but be charmed by such stories?

As a teen, I know I appreciated how Montgomery "edited" Anne's letters to leave out the mushy, romantical parts.  This amuses be greatly still.  

Particularly Good Bits:

In passing, isn't 'dusk' a lovely word? I like it better than twilight.  It sounds so velvety and shadowy and... and... dusky (p. 3).

"Nobody is ever too old to dream.  And dreams never grow old" (p. 89).

"A cold in the head in June is an immoral thing" (p. 184).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Sweet and clean and gentle.

This is my 38th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my 7th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

Elyssa hasn't posted any discussion questions at Purple Ink Studios for this book yet, so at such time as she does, I'll probably do a separate post about them.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Women's Classic Literature Event: Group Check-In 2

Here's the question for the second Group Check-In, and my answer.

Q: Share an interesting fact about the life of the author you’re currently reading for this event.

A: I'm currently reading Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery. She was born on Prince Edward Island in Canada, where she later set her most beloved book, Anne of Green Gables, and her early life was hard, much like Anne Shirley's. Her mother died when she was just a toddler, and her father didn't want to raise her, so she was raised by her maternal grandparents, who were elderly. She created imaginary friends to keep her company, much like Anne Shirley did before she came to live at Green Gables. You can read more about her here at the L.M. Montgomery Institute, or on Wikipedia here.

I've read six books for this event so far, and am nearly finished with my seventh.  You can see the full list here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Poetry Month Tag -- My Own Answers

I've suddenly realized that I never filled out my own tag for my own Poetry Month Celebration!  Well, I've got a few days to spare, so I guess I'm not exactly late.  Here goes.

What are some poems you like?

"Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams" by Kenneth Koch (which is funnier if you have read WCW's "This is Just to Say"), "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost, "Fog" by Carl Sandburg, "Hush'd be the Camps Today" by Walt Whitman, "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot, "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes, "The Man from Snowy River" by A. B. "Banjo" Patterson, "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning... those are the first ones that pop into my head.

What are some poems you dislike?

I am not a huge fan of the poems of Emily Dickinson or e. e. cummings, though some of their stuff I do like okay.
Are there any poets whose work you especially enjoy?  If so, who are they?

Kenneth Koch, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, and Robert Browning are my top favorites.

Do you write poetry?

Not as much as I did when in college and my early 20s.  But once in a while, I still jot one down.
Have you ever memorized a poem?

Goodness me, yes!  When I was really little, I memorized all of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore, and also "Eletelephony" by Laura Elizabeth Richards.  I still know all of the latter, but not the former anymore, alas.  I've memorized other favorite poems over the years too, including two I mentioned above, "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost and "Hush'd be the Camps Today" by Walt Whitman.  I know several other Robert Frost poems too, including "Nothing Gold Can Stay," which I love because of the role it plays in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.  And one of these days, I'll finish memorizing "The Man from Snowy River" too -- that one has such a delicious cadence to it that it's very easy to memorize.  I know a lot of Shakespeare too, mostly Hamlet of course, like the whole "To be or not to be" soliloquy.

Do you prefer poetry that rhymes and had a strict meter, or free verse?  Or do you like both?

I like both.  Rhyming poetry is easier to memorize, though.

Do you have any particular poetry movements you're fond of?  (Beat poets, Romanticism, Fireside poets, etc?)(If you haven't got any idea what I'm talking about, that's fine!  You can check out this list for more info, if you want to.)

Well, on a whole I am NOT fond of the Romantics.  Or the Beat poets.  Most of my favorite poets are from the 20th century, but not associated with any particular movements.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"The High Window" by Raymond Chandler

The first year after I had graduated college, I got a two-volume collection of Raymond Chandler's complete works out of the library and inhaled them.  It was a wonderful couple of weeks.  I'd read The Big Sleep back in high school, and The Lady in the Lake one summer between college years, so I knew I liked his writing style.  But it wasn't until that post-college binge that I realized I'd found my favorite author.

The only trouble was, I read all his novels and short stories in a row, and all the plots kind of smooshed together.  The only one I can reliably tell you a decent amount about is still The Big Sleep, because I've read it probably 3 times, and watched the Bogart & Bacall movie a lot.  So this re-read of The High Window was almost like reading a brand-new-to-me book.  I really didn't remember anything about the plot, which made it extra enjoyable.

Basically, Philip Marlowe gets hired to find a rich old woman's daughter-in-law, who has disappeared along with a valuable old coin.  In the process, he runs into murder, blackmail, and emotional manipulation -- the case goes deep and dark before it's through.

One thing that surprised me was how relatively clean this was.  I always think of Chandler as dealing with dark, dirty crimes, but while a few sordid things were implied here and there, they were glossed over pretty gently.  If you'd like to try out one of his novels to see what his writing style is like, but don't want to get sucked into society's underbelly, I recommend trying this one.

I'm not listing any favorite lines because I had so many it would be like reprinting half the book.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for violence, language, and innuendo.  

This is my 37th book read and reviewed for The Classics Club!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Poetry Celebration Recap -- Week 3

I can't believe how well this celebration is going!  I was hoping I'd get 5 or 6 other people to participate, maybe have a dozen posts total, including my own.  Instead, we're up to two dozen posts already!  You can find links to all of them on the Poetry Month Celebration page, but here are the new posts from this week:

3 Reasons Why You Should Go to a Poetry Reading -- Suzanne
Pride and Prejudice Poem (original poem) -- Naomi
"Ode to Dr. Seuss" (original poem) -- Joseph
"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne -- Brona Joy
"Today" (original poem) -- Kara
"A Curious Inbetween" (original poem) -- Kara
"Known" (original poem) -- Kara
"All You Who Sleep Tonight" (original poem) -- Hamlette
Nature Poetry -- Carol
"The Horse Show at Midnight" by Henry Taylor -- Joseph
Poetry and Prose in Shakespeare's Plays -- Hamlette

We only have one week left, so if you've been wanting to join in, but haven't yet, now is your chance!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Poetry and Prose in Shakespeare's Plays

So today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.  And this is also the day we traditionally observe his birthday on, because we know he was baptized on April 26, and babies were usually baptized 3 days after they were born back then, so though we don't have a record of his birthday for certain, it's the day we celebrate it because it's our best guess.

It's also my birthday.  Yes, I seem to have been fated to love Shakespeare, right from birth, hee.  We are going to be doing something Shakespeare-and-Mommy-oriented for my birthday today, which I'll doubtless post about later, probably over on my Soliloquy blog.  But for right now, I am going to post a bit about Shakespeare and poetry, as part of my Poetry Month Celebration.

When Cowboy and I were first dating, and he was learning about my obsession with great fondness for Hamlet and Shakespeare in general, he told me he was always really annoyed by how sometimes the characters in Shakespeare's plays speak in rhyme, and sometimes they don't.  Has that ever annoyed you?  Or made you wonder why he did that?  Did he just get sick of rhyming stuff and stop for a while, or have trouble coming up with rhymes, or what? 

I have no good answers for you on this.  Gasp!  I haven't really spent any time studying why and when he used rhymes.  However, this excellent post on The Shakespeare Blog explains some of the ways he used rhyme, so if you're curious, you can go read that.

However, I do know a bit about why he shifted from poetry to prose and back within his plays.  You probably know he mostly wrote in "blank verse," or "iambic pentameter," meaning that most of his poetic lines are 10 or 11 syllables long and have a cadence to them that makes them really easy to memorize, and sound very pleasing when spoken aloud.  For the most part, Shakespeare and other Elizabethan playwrights used poetry for more formal speeches, and for high-born and/or tragic characters, and prose for more relaxed speeches, and for lower-class and/or comic characters.  

When you're reading one of his plays, it's easy to see the difference.  The poetry is written with each line being about the same length, and each starting with a capital letter regardless of whether that word is the beginning of a sentence or not.  Like this:

To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life. 

          (Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1)

His prose goes all the way to the margin, and only the beginning of sentences are capitalized, like this:

I have of late -- but wherefore I know not -- lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire -- why, it appeareth no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust?
          (Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2)

So it's really easy to see the difference if you're reading one of this plays.  But what if you're watching one be performed?  According to Shakespeare and the Arts of Language by Russ McDonald (Oxford University Press, 2001), "Shakespeare' first audiences seem to have been more sensitive to verbal structures than their modern counterparts" (p. 108).  Today, we have to learn to listen for the difference, but it seems that in Shakespeare's day, everybody knew that trick already.  Kind of like how, today, we might know that a scene shot in black-and-white stuck in the middle of a color movie is probably going to be a flashback or a dream.  It's a story-telling device we're familiar with.

To quote McDonald again, Shakespeare "employs prose precisely because it is not poetry, because it makes a change.  In other words, the introduction of a speech or scene in prose signals an alteration of mood, a relaxation of tension...  Prose can also signal reversals in character, indicating for example the onset of madness or a loss of control" (p. 113).  Shakespeare deliberately chose to write each speech in poetry or prose based on what he was trying to convey to the audience about a character's station in life, mood, and whether some major change was occurring, as well as whether they were overall a comic or tragic figure.  

Okay, that's your literary lesson for the day :-)  Also, if you're interested, the BBC is doing alllllll kinds of stuff to celebrate today, which you can learn about here.  

Happy birthday, William Shakespeare!  You died 400 years ago today, but while memory holds a seat in this distracted globe, we will remember you.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"All You Who Sleep Tonight"

I wrote this the year after I graduated from college and got married.  My husband was a year behind me, so while he did his senior year of college, we lived on campus, and though I did have a full-time job, I got to participate in a lot of stuff at the college with my friends who hadn't graduated yet.  I still attended the writing group when I could, and took part in some events like "poetry jams" they hosted.  They let me compete even though I was no longer a student, and I won first place at one of them with this poem.

"All You Who Sleep Tonight"

All you who sleep tonight,
Full, cozy in your beds:
The world is full of ancient fright
That aches to creep inside your heads.

Beneath your sheets and blankets
You cuddle, dreaming dreams
Of childhood memories and pets
When someone sudden screams.

You bolt upright, eyes wide.
You search the darkness, scared.
The fear you feel so deep inside
Insists its fierceness can't be beared.

Aha!  Two eyes now glow
From somewhere near the door -- 
And from the darkness down below
Your bed, you hear a roar.

Your happy dreams have flown,
Your dolls and dogs forgot.
The fear that all the world has known
Seems here to hold you to this spot.

Another scream rips through
The air -- it sounds like Tom,
Your younger brother, yes, he who
Is favored most by Mom.

Those glowing eyes there at
The door, you recognize
As Jeeves, your Dad's old ugly cat,
Who slowly leaves amid the cries.

You scramble from your bed,
Ignoring Things below,
And run into your brother Fred,
Who falls and stubs his toe.

You disregard Fred's cries
When yet another scream
Shreds through your heart as poor Tom tries
To waken from his horrid dream.

Then opens up the door
That guards your parents' room,
And out upon the shadowed floor
Spills light that parts the gloom.

Your mom and dad appear,
They smile to you and Fred.
Then armed with sword and torch and spear,
They march to rescue Tom from bed.

With Jeeves and Fred beside,
You follow in the wake
Your parents leave as on they glide -- 
The shadows you forsake.

Then suddenly they stop
Just outside poor Tom's room.
They draw their swords, their sheathes they drop,
Then fiercely rush to challenge doom.

You wait in the cold hall
As battle then begins.
With Jeeves and Fred, you one and all
Hold breath to see who wins.

Abruptly, all noise stops.
Your parents reappear,
Their nightgowns splattered with the drops
Of blood from that which you did fear.

And there stands little Tom,
Not harmed by the attack,
And after a quick hug from Mom,
You all demand a snack.

So down the stairs you go
For milk and cookies warm,
But though you're safe now, yet you know
What terrors in your bedroom swarm.

Copyright Rachel (Ohlendorf) Kovaciny, 2003

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gearing up for the "Jane Eyre" read-along

I've set a date!  We'll begin the Jane Eyre read-along on May 29, Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

If you've never seen how one of my read-alongs works and are curious, you can visit this page, which has links to the master posts for each of my previous events.  Basically, I do a post for each individual chapter, sharing my thoughts about it and some discussion questions if I can think any up.  Participants then comment on that post with their own thoughts, and discuss things together and with me.  For deep books like this, I do a post every three days, usually, so there's plenty of time for people to read, ponder, and discuss.  There are 38 chapters, so expect this to take all summer.  We're going to really dig deeply into this story, analyze it, appreciate it, squeeze every drop of goodness from it that we can.  (And if that sounds scary, honestly, it's not.  Check out the posts for my Hamlet read-along to see what I'm talking about -- that's the level of digging I'm anticipating for this book.)

Please share one of these buttons on your own blog if you're interested in joining the read-along or just want to spread the word about it.  There is no official sign-up sheet or anything like that.  When we've begun, I'll probably put out the call for guest posts relating to this book -- I think it would be cool to get some reviews of the various film versions, character sketches, etc.  We'll see what people come up with!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Poetry Celebration Recap -- Week 2

Time to share links to all the posts people wrote for the Poetry Celebration this past week, April 10-16!  Here they are, in case you haven't had time to read them all and want to catch up, or if you're just joining us.  

Poetry and Baseball -- Joseph
"Narnian Suite" by C. S. Lewis -- Cleopatra
Galvanized by Leland Kinsey -- Lory
"The Boy in the Moon" (original poem) -- Joseph
"Sonnet 6" (original poem) -- Hamlette
"High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. -- Joseph
"An Anglo-Saxon Riddle" (original poem) -- Cleopatra

And of course, links to all the posts for this month-long event can be found on this page, and people's links to their tag answers are over here.

I have been blown away by the participation in this event so far!  I'm so excited by this!  The posts are so diverse, we've got a great mix of original poetry, poetry analysis, and sharing of favorite poems... this is really cool, y'all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Sonnet 6"

I went through this phase toward the end of college, and continuing a bit afterward, where I wrote a lot of sonnets.  Because I liked the structure and the rules, and because... why not?  I've decided to share a few of my own poems here for the Poetry Month Celebration, and I'm starting with this one because... I can.

I wrote it during the mid-break in this 3-hour, one-night-a-week science class I took my senior year.  The professor told us something about a place called Puku-Puku, and one of the other students tried to find it on a globe, and this poem happened as a result.

"Sonnet 6"

But did you find Puku-Puku?
As you wandered o'er the planet,
Did it nearly make you cuckoo
Not to find your island? Man, it
Could drive a man to chocolate milk,
This unrequited longing for
The island where the finest silk
Feels rougher than its freckled shore,
Where kumquats fall from friendly trees --
The only true ambrosia grows
On your dream isle. The jolly breeze
Delightfully dispels "uh-ohs,"
So Puku-Puku-ites won't worry,
Won't argue, won't gripe -- they won't even hurry.

Copyright Rachel (Ohlendorf )Kovaciny, 2002

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Her Hair was a Hot Sunset: Inkling Explorations for April, 2016

This month, the topic for Heidi Peterson's Inkling Explorations literary link-up is "A description of a lady in literature."  Partly because I'm re-reading one of his novels now, and mostly because his descriptions are what I love best about him, I am today going to share with you not one, not two, but five descriptions of women written by my favorite author, Raymond Chandler.

Chandler can take any image and find some fresh, unusual, and often sarcastic or cynical way to describe it.  Because I'm short on time right now, I'm pulling these quotes from a dandy little book, Philip Marlowe's Guide to Life, edited by Martin Asher.  It's a collection of some of the snappiest bits from all of Chandler's books, which all starred hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe.  Here are some of my favorites, which give you a good taste of his style.


She was wearing a white wool skirt, a burgundy silk blouse and a black velvet over-jacket with short sleeves.  Her hair was a hot sunset.  She wore a golden topaz bracelet and topaz earrings and a topaz dinner ring in the shape of a shield.  Her fingernails matched her blouse exactly.  She looked as if it would take a couple of weeks to get her dressed.  --The Little Sister

It was a blonde.  A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.  --Farewell, My Lovely

It was a nice face, a face you get to like.  Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.  --Farewell, My Lovely

To say she had a face that would have stopped a clock would have been to insult her.  It would have stopped a runaway horse.  --The Little Sister

The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like ear and smiled a small fluffy smile.  She looked playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself, like a new kitten in a house where they don't care much about kittens.  --The Lady in the Lake


If you've never read one of Chandler's books, but you love mysteries with a good swagger to them, please do yourself a favor and try one.  And if you haven't checked out the Inkling Explorations series yet, do that as well!  It's a fun way to share books and movies you love.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"The Black Moth" by Georgette Heyer

Well, it took me three months to read this book, which tells you a lot right there about whether or not I liked it.

I didn't hate it, truly I didn't.  I just didn't like it all that well.  Actually, I very much liked one character, and if we'd just stuck with him, I'd have polished off the book in a couple of days.  But we had to keep bobbing off to spend time with characters I either disdained or positively loathed, as the case may be, and that got tiresome.  

Set in Georgian England, it's about this guy who took the blame for cheating at cards years ago, even though it was his brother who did it.  He's been on the lam ever since, and lately he's been amusing himself by playing highwayman.  One day he saves a sweet young woman from being abducted by this Perfectly Loathsome Other Guy, who happens to be the brother of the woman who married this guy's brother -- the one who cheated at cards and let him take the rap.  Yeeeeeeeees, it's kind of convoluted.  If only we could've stuck with Mr. Highwayman, because he was simply delicious.  And really, the Perfectly Loathsome Other Guy was quite fascinating in his own way.  Amusingly enough, I kept imagining Richard Chamberlain as both of those fellows, and he worked equally well in both roles.  I had great fun with that.  But the cheater brother and his awful wife... blech, I had a terrible time slogging through their sections.  

However!  I've since learned from Wikipedia that this was Georgette Heyer's debut novel, published when she was only nineteen, which makes me forgive a lot.  I will not hesitate to try another of her books.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13.  There are oblique references to a man ruining the character of several women, and one scene where he tries to force himself on a virtuous woman.  Also an abduction, some sword fights, and a few mild curses.

This is my 36th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my sixth for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Winners of the Poetry Giveaway!

The mighty Rafflecopter Widget has spoken!  Here are the winners of the six poetry books:

Cornhuskers -- Cleopatra
Songs for the Open Road -- Julie Diane
Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson -- Jessica P.
Great Short Poems -- Melanie S.
Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems -- Heidi P.
100 Best-Loved Poems -- Ashley P.

Congratulations, everyone!  You'll be receiving an email from me later this morning at the address you provided to the widget, asking for your mailing address so I can ship these off.  If I don't hear back from you by next Monday, April 18, I'll have to disqualify you and pick a new winner, so please reply promptly :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Poetry Celebration Recap -- Week 1

I thought it would be nice to do a recap post every week with links to all the posts people had written for the event.  You can also find these links on the Poetry Month Celebration page too, of course.  But as the month progresses, this might make it easier for people to find which posts are new and so on.

So for April 1-9, here are the poetry-oriented posts people contributed:

Two Favorite Poems -- Joseph
Why I'm Celebrating Poetry -- Hamlette
"The Morning of Life" by Victor Hugo -- Cleopatra
Australian Poetry in WWI -- Carol
Poetry, a Gift to Our Children -- Silvia
"The Lovebird" (an original poem) -- Joseph

I plan to do a recap post like this every weekend.  I'm not going to include links to everyone's tag posts, though, so be sure to check this post for those.

And don't forget that the giveaway ends tonight at midnight!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Poetry Giveaway Extension

I'm going to be extremely busy this weekend, and I'm not going to have time to choose giveaway winners and contact them, and so on.  So if you haven't had a chance to enter the giveaway yet, now you have a bit more time!  It will run through the end of Sunday now.  You can enter it through the widget on this page.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why I'm Celebrating Poetry

A lot of people I've encountered think that poetry is pretty, but boring.  Or that it's hard to understand unless you're a poet yourself.  Or that poetry is just fluffy, romantic glop.  I felt that way myself until I went to college.  I disliked almost all the poetry I read for my high school lit courses.  In fact, I avoided poetry whenever possible.  My lit classes made me memorize all kinds of things about iambs and feet and meter and other technical jargon that made poetry about as enjoyable and interesting as scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Then I went to college and made friends with a couple of fellow writers.  They wrote poetry.  They loved poetry.  And their poetry was fun!  Not only that, but I discovered that I could write poetry too.  And it wasn't stiff and formal and dull.  I found that poetry could dance and sway and frolic.  

My second semester that year, I took a class called Poetry and Drama.  Fast-forward to my senior year, and I helped teach Poetry and Drama as part of my internship working for the head of the English department.  Quite a change over the course of four years, from actively disliking poetry to teaching others about it because I enjoyed it so much myself.

And now here I am, fourteen years after that, hosting a month-long blog celebration of poetry.  Pretty crazy, huh?  

But why do I like poetry?  Because it makes me view things in a different way than I otherwise would.  My favorite poems revolve around one small incident or image, something that would get barely mentioned in prose.  Plums, a fence, fog, a few words exchanged between a grieving husband and wife.  Spending time considering small things, fleeting moments, ordinary people.  I like poems that are like a photograph -- I can spend lots of time studying that one captured image and learning things from it, noticing what I might otherwise have overlooked or not understood or ignored.

Of course, there are lots of other kinds of poetry too.  Love poems, epic poems, ballads, and so on.  I enjoy those too.  But the types of poems I like best, and usually write myself, are the intimate little ones that make me pause and pay attention to the little things in life.

However, I don't read (or write) as much poetry as I used to, and so this Poetry Month Celebration is my way of encouraging myself to include more of it in my life.  While I'm at it, I figured why not spread the poem love?  So here we are.  

If you haven't already, please check out the Poetry Giveaway I'm hosting, which runs through Thursday, April 7.  And if you're so inclined, you can copy the Poetry Tag and fill it out on your own blog.  But above all, please go to the Poetry Month Celebration page and see all the cool posts that other bloggers are planning to contribute to this event -- what they've already posted!  If you want, you can sign up to participate too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Poetry Giveaway

Do you love poetry?  Kind of like poetry?  Are you curious about poetry, but aren't sure what poets to try out?  If you answered "Yes" to any of those, then this giveaway is for you!  I am giving away SIX books of poetry!

I figure this is a fun way to kick off my month-long celebration.  These are inexpensive poetry collections, and would be a good place to start if you want to expand your knowledge of poetry.  If you don't win one here, you can find them online or at your local library, if you're interested.

Here are the prizes, with a note or two on what they're like:

Cornhuskers by Carl Sandburg -- very readable poetry from the 20th century.  Sandburg is one of my absolute favorite poets.

Songs for the Open Road:  Poems of Travel and Adventure (with poems from Whitman, Stevenson, Cummings, Frost, Keats, Dickinson, Longfellow, Hughes, Browning, and more) -- this would be great for someone who think they don't like poetry, or who are adverse to lovey-dovey sorts of poems.

Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson -- most of her poems are quite short, and lots of them are famous.

Great Short Poems edited by Paul Negri (with poems from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron, Tennyson, Dickinson, Yeats, Frost, Sandburg, Eliot, and more) -- this would be great for someone with a short attention span or limited reading time.

Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- lovely poems, many of them romantic, many of them famous.  This is where "How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways" comes from.

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith (with poems from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Longfellow, Kipling, Frost, Sandburg, and more) -- this would be great for someone who wants to read lots of classic poetry.

Okay, so this runs through the end of Thursday, April 7th Sunday, April 10th. I will draw six names on Friday, April 8th Monday, April 11th, and post the names of the winners that day, as well a notify them by email.

Sadly, shipping rates went up this year, and I can only send these to US addresses. If you live outside the USA and have a friend who lives here that is willing to have it shipped to them for you, that's fine, but I can't send them internationally.

PLEASE make sure your information for the giveaway widget includes your current email address so that if you win a prize, you'll get the email informing you that you won! If you don't reply to my email by Friday, April 15th Monday, April 18th, I will choose another winner and award your prize to them instead.

The first way to enter, as you see, asks you to leave a comment telling me your top two prize choices. If you DO NOT want one (or more) of these books, please say so in your comment as well! I'd rather not send you a book of poetry you already have, or have read and decided you don't want to own, or have no interest in.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check the Poetry Month Celebration page all through the month to read the poetry posts that lots of bloggers are contributing!  You can also sign up there yourself to join in yourself.  And I've also posted a poetry tag with a link-up, for anyone who wants to fill it out on their own blog.

Poetry Month Celebration -- The Tag and Link-Up

Today marks the start of my month-long poetry shindig.  And what would a blog celebration be without a tag?  Here are seven poetry-related questions for you to answer, if you so desire.  Copy and paste to your own blog and answer them there, then come back and add your post's link to the linky list so we can all learn about each others' tastes in poetry!

The Questions

What are some poems you like?

What are some poems you dislike?

Are there any poets whose work you especially enjoy?  If so, who are they?

Do you write poetry?

Have you ever memorized a poem?

Do you prefer poetry that rhymes and had a strict meter, or free verse?  Or do you like both?

Do you have any particular poetry movements you're fond of?  (Beat poets, Romanticism, Fireside poets, etc?)(If you haven't got any idea what I'm talking about, that's fine!  You can check out this list for more info, if you want to.)

The Link-Up

Please note:  This link-up is just for the tag.  When you post other poetry-related things for the month-long celebration, comment with the links on this page here and I'll add them to that list.  Please comment after you add your link so others will get notified that you've joined the fun.

Don't forget to enter the poetry giveaway -- it runs through April 7th 10th.  And please have a look at the official page for the Poetry Month Celebration.  I'll be updating it all month, so check back now and then for links to other people's poetry posts!