Poetry and Nonfiction Reading Round-Up: October 2018

I had an idea while preparing the Favorite Fiction Reads of Summer 2018 post recently. Even though I read nonfiction (mainly on writing and creativity) and poetry as well as fiction, I only ever blog about fiction. But I’m not just a reader. I’m also a poet, a dabbler in speculative fiction, and a perpetual student of the craft of writing. So why not blog about the other kinds of books I read, since they’re just as important to my literary life?

Hence this week’s experiment. This round-up shares mini-reviews of five poetry books and four “writerly” nonfiction books I’ve read over the past few months. If any of them pique your interest, you can check out more information on Goodreads via the link in each title. Most importantly, if this kind of post is something you’d like to see again (maybe every 3 or 4 months), let me know in your comments. That’s the best way for me to know whether this is worth continuing as a blog series.

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Five Reasons to Read a Poem Every Day (or Every Night)

About a year-and-a-half ago, I began reading one poem a day before going to bed. If time allowed, I might read two poems, especially if I was alternating between a regular poetry book and a longer “best-of” collection. Since then, this habit has become as essential to my routine as writing, breathing, and sleeping. More importantly, I’ve already noticed the impact it’s had on my writing as well as my life in general. (That last bit might be a story for another day. *wink*)

Maybe you love poetry, too, yet you struggle to find time to read it because of work, family, and other responsibilities. Or perhaps you haven’t read much poetry before and would like that to change. Reading a poem a day could be the perfect solution – because, like other habits that eventually stick, you might find yourself enjoying this short, simple act so much that your routine will feel incomplete without it.

So, how can you benefit from reading a poem a day? Why should you even try in the first place? Let me give you five reasons, starting with…

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What’s Making Me Happy: April and May 2018

Um…. Hi everyone. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

The short story is, I had to take about 2 months off from blogging here. It was unexpected, to say the least, and I feel badly that I disappeared unexpectedly like that. But don’t we all go through periods when life offline goes a little… well, nuts, and we have to rearrange our priorities temporarily? And now that things appear to be smoothing out, I think I’m ready to make a comeback.

And what an appropriate post to return with, right? I really do love this What’s Making Me Happy series, and for so many reasons. So let me share some of the things that brought much-needed joy and lightness despite the stress of the past two months. Feel free to share what’s made you happy recently in your comments. 🙂

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What’s Making Me Happy: December 2017 & January 2018

I’m sort of glad now that I decreased my blogging schedule again. Because January was a blur, and not a fun kind of blur. I was buried with work at my day job for most of the month, which cramped my free time to a minimum and zapped my blogging time to… well, zero. :/ But some good things happened in January, too, and I can’t forget or discount any of that goodness.

That’s why I’m grateful for this series. What’s Making Me Happy reminds me of the highlights, fun events, and other recent joys – and after a month that drags you down in some ways, it’s a nourishing perspective to have. This month’s Happy post is twice as delightful, too: I’m covering both December and January, with three joys from each month. And with my slower blogging schedule, this bimonthly format might be the way to go from now on. What do you think?

Let’s start with…

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40th Anniversary Issue of Curry Arts Journal Out Now

The 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal is out! The special edition was published just in time for Curry College’s Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20. It features new and previously published works by current students and alumni. I’m honored that the staff chose to include three new poems of mine: “Eve of Spring,” “Nightmusic,” and “The Critic and the Muse.”

The 40th anniversary issue is not available online or for purchase outside Curry. So, I took some photos of the issue for you to see. Have a look!

The cover of the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.

The cover of the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.

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My poem “Eve of Spring,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.

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My poem “Nightmusic,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.

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My poem “The Critic and the Muse,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.

The Curry Arts Journal staff is also uploading the pieces published in the 40th anniversary issue onto their website. Once my poems are online, I’ll share the links with you here.

Coming Soon: My review of Ayreon’s The Theory Of Everything should be online at Sonic Cathedral next week.

September Open Mic Nights Update

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately next Friday’s Open Mic Night at Studio East in Walpole has been cancelled.  However, you can still catch me at next Saturday’s Open Mic Night at the Catbird Cafe / New England Wildlife Center. I’m planning to read “Elegy” for the first time there, as well as one or two other poems I haven’t chosen yet.

Here are the details, in case you’re interested in attending:

Open Mic Night at the Catbird Cafe
Saturday, September 28th, starting at 5 p.m.
New England Wildlife Center
Weymouth, MA

Hope to see you there!

“Elegy” Featured in Summer 2013 Issue of Soul-Lit

As previously announced on this blog, Soul-Lit has accepted my poem “Elegy” for its Summer 2013 issue. The issue is now available online for you to read. Click here to read “Elegy,” and click here to see the index of all of the poets featured in this issue. I highly recommend you check out the feature on Janice Rebibo as well as poems by Wayne-Daniel Berard, Richard Ballon, and Margaret Vidale, for starters.

If you’re curious about the inspiration behind “Elegy,” please read my blog entry about the Boston Marathon bombings. At the end, I mentioned how I felt compelled to write a poem that described my reaction to the horror and tragedy of this event. “Elegy” is that poem. It’s my tribute to the people who were injured or killed at the finish line, and also to the area of Boston I’ve visited the most in my lifetime.

Considering I wrote the poem in May, I’m still shocked by the fingersnap-quick turnaround from the first, handwritten draft to publication. I’m also thrilled and grateful to the editors of Soul-Lit for choosing to include it with beautiful, inspiring work by other poets from all over the world.

Soul-Lit is a quarterly online journal based in Massachusetts that focuses on spiritual poetry. Visit Soul-Lit’s website or Facebook page to learn more about the journal, its editors, and their distinction between spiritual poetry and secular / religious poetry.

Coming Soon: My review of Second Empire’s self-titled EP at Sonic Cathedral