Friday, March 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: Birthday Gifts Edition

Today is a busy day for me because it's a due date in both seventh and eighth grade.  The seventh graders made poetry anthologies, and the eighth graders are turning in a variety of things, but the main genre of the quarter was feature articles, and there are lots of very interesting topics, based on interviews they have done.  The piles are a little daunting, but there should be some great reading.

Speaking of great reading, I got some in the mail yesterday, too.  For my recent birthday, I received two Amazon gift cards, and I decided to treat myself to some poetry that had been on my Wish List for a while.  I got three books, one a download and two analog (I've typed and deleted several ways of referring to the book books - I'm not sure what to call them!).  I got a box from Amazon yesterday, and as soon as I get a little control of the grading, I'm excited to dig into these books.

I downloaded Derek Walcott's Omeros, which is a Caribbean retelling of the Odyssey (Walcott is from the island of St. Lucia).  I've been wanting to read this for a long time, and I couldn't wait, so I started it already.  It begins with a description of the building of canoes.  An islander called Philoctete is explaining to tourists:

"Wind lift the ferns.  They sound like the sea that feed us
fishermen all our life, and the ferns nodded 'Yes,
the trees have to die.' So, fists jam in our jacket,

cause the heights was cold and our breath making feathers
like the mist, we pass the rum.  When it came back, it
give us the spirit to turn into murderers.

I lift up the axe and pray for strength in my hands
to wound the first cedar.  Dew was filling my eyes,
but I fire one more white rum.  Then we advance."

I'm sure I'll write about this when I'm done with it, or maybe even while I'm in the process of reading it.

I've been reading poems by Gregory Djanikian for several years, and have posted some on this blog in the past (here, here, here), but have never read any of his books.  The one I got is called Years Later
Djanikian immigrated to the United States from Egypt as a young child, and if you follow the links to the poems I've posted by him, you'll see that he writes a lot about his experiences.  

The third book I got is by Jan Richardson, whose blog I love.  In fact, I've read several of the poems from this book, The Cure for Sorrow, there.  I have been wanting to get the book since it came out.  It's about her sudden loss of her husband after less than four years of marriage, but her format is blessings, with titles like "Blessing in the Chaos," "Blessing of Memory," "Blessing for a Whole Heart." 

There are few better feelings than having a whole little stack of books you are looking forward to reading.  Yay!

Here's today's roundup. I'm looking forward to reading that, too!


Tabatha said...

Exciting! My dad asks for Amazon gift cards for his presents because he loves digging into his wish list, too. (My younger daughter read Omeros last year -- 9th grade -- and I think her grade complained so much that this year's freshmen didn't have to read it...)

jama said...

Nothing better than brand new books! All three titles look interesting; poets I've been wanting to read more of. Enjoy!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Happy belated birthday, Ruth! These all sound great, but I'm especially intrigued by OMEROS... also those 7th grade poetry anthologies. :) Enjoy!

Violet N. said...

Lovely! Enjoy the poetic riches and do share more with us. I too love Jan Richardson.

Linda B said...

And now I'll have more on my wish list, Ruth. What treats you selected that will be the gifts for a long time. Those lines you shared are so poignant and also respectful. Thanks for them. I'm interested to hear that your seventh graders did poetry anthologies. I've had my students do them in the past and while it was a lot of copying, I thought it became a treasured "product". Feature articles will be good reading too.Thanks for all!

Linda Mitchell said...

Ruth! I feel like I hit the jack-pot with your post. What beautiful titles from writers that I am bound to love for the fresh perspectives they bring. Thank you so much. I don't know how you could choose a book to read first! They are all so tempting. Happy Birthday, dear lady. Enjoy every moment and good luck with getting through those papers. I'd love to see a quote from some of the great ones. Have a great week!

Bridget Magee said...

Oh, so much goodness with these literary finds, Ruth! Happy belated birthday! And hopefully when you read this comment you grading pile will be significantly reduced. =)