The daughter of a Palestinian immigrant to the US, Naomi Shihab Nye, latest collection of poetry delves into the heavy topic of the the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the real disparage of land, power, culture, and control. The poems can each stand on their own but as an inter-woven tapestry are reminding the reader of the brutality of borders, walls, occupied lands and conflict.
In one of her poems from the collection:
“Losing as Its Own Flower,”
“Truth unfolds in the gardens,
massive cabbages, succulent tomatoes,
orange petals billowing,
even when the drought is long. . . .
In a way, we did lose. Where is everybody?
Scattered around the world like pollen.”
The reader is reminded of the beauty of life and the simplicity of the earth’s nourishment in contrast to boundaries – mental, physical, emotional, and the tragedies of war, death and fighting created by man.
The Tiny Journalist focuses on the struggles for all humans not just those in Palestine or Israel, but more on the elements of the disparities of war and the nonjudgmental hand of destruction.
Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne is a poetry collection for the disheartened, for the hungry, for the post-college 20-somethings who really thought they would have their life completely together by now. In other words, while reading this book, I felt like it was written for me. This is a book of comedic poetry, one that poses short, amusing, and remarkably light-hearted, sarcastic comments about life that we thought we would have figured out by now.
Samantha Jayne is an actress and writer who lives out in Los Angeles. One of the things she has become famous for are her popular Tumblr and Instagram accounts, Quarter Life Poetry, where she posts snappy four-lined poems about her life as a 20-something post-college. She has poems paired with related images on topics ranging from work, money, sex, life, student loans, love, and any/every other challenge that people going through life post-college are faced with on a daily basis.
Jayne’s poetry really captures what it’s like when you find out that yet another one of your friends in pregnant while you’re just trying to keep a plant alive, how you feel trying to pay off your student loans while working a 40 hour a week job that doesn’t allow for much of a social life, and also how it feels to be stuck in a dating scene with what seems like the less than desirables right after college. Jayne perfectly illustrates the fact that students in college think life post-college is glamorous, when in reality, the post-college adults know that being in your 20s is really all about just trying to find yourself amongst piles of student loan debt, cheap take-out, and the more-than-occasional trip to the store to buy more wine. While this book was marketed towards post-college 20-somethings, it is a quick, short read that people of all ages can enjoy as they reminisce on their post-college life.
I have a dilemma. I think cats are adorable, but I’m allergic, so I can never own one. I get my cat fix by visiting my friends who own cats, where I’m forced to admire them from afar and not get too close. Let me tell you something that I’ve noticed: cats are WEIRD. Don’t get me wrong, I admit cats are significantly smarter than my dogs, but I can never be 100% sure what exactly is going on in any cat’s head.
Enter in I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats. This book has become my go-to manual for figuring out what that tabby cat is thinking as it stares me down from the corner of the room. Ever wondered how they feel about catnip, laser pointers, traveling, or even that new fuzzy kitten you brought home? Let the cats tell you all about it. The next time you decide to try to sleep in, are wondering what happened to your curtains or couch, or are even curious about why your cat seems to change his mind so quickly, turn to this book to gain a humorous understanding of why cats behave the way they do(and then maybe swing by the pet store on your way home and pick up some catnip and a brand new toy – they’re not opposed to bribery).
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
April is National Poetry Month too!
Okay, okay — this little rhyme won’t win a Pulitzer prize. But maybe, just maybe, it’ll get you to come into the library and check out a book of poetry; you might just find some old favorites you’ve forgotten and discover some new ones along the way.
The children’s collection has some beautiful books — often illustrating just one poem, so they’re very appealling to both young and old alike. Try Shel Silverstein’s classic A Light in the Attic, filled with whimsical, playful, clever (and very funny) word play, or Paul Janecsko’s A Kick in the Head, a delightful, laugh-out-loud introduction to poetry forms. Both will have you bouncin’ to the beat!
And, if you’ve never read Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, what better time than now? Set in a fictional Midwestern village in central Illinois along the Spoon River (which isn’t all that far from here), it tells the stories of “the dead sleeping on the hill” who awaken and tell the truth about their lives. Although written in 1915, the themes are universal and heartfelt.
If you don’t find something on the display shelf, just check out the 811’s for a treasure chest of American poetry.