Poetry

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes: A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse (Vintage Classics) by Langston Hughes - Book Review

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Selected Poems of Langston Hughes: A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679728184
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Published: Vintage - September 12th, 1990

Limber, lyrical poems that capture the jazz-infused Harlem of the mid-20th Century, and the bitter experiences of blacks in American history, while anticipating and addressing the racial stigmas of today. Street-smart, musical, and natural, Hughes's work is deservedly a touchstone of American poetry. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


Dandelion by Gabbie Hanna - Book Review

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$17.99
ISBN: 9781982153380
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Published: Atria Books - October 13th, 2020

Hanna deals with life, fear, anxiety, depression and even assault. Yet, nothing is “too much” to deal with. Almost every poem is no more than a handful of stanzas. One is even just one line. Humor and seriousness are mixed together to create words of art. Also included are “essays” about what inspired some of their works, where Hanna came from and even where they might be going. The illustrations are stories in themselves. They are sketches in a classic and modern format at once. There is a uniqueness that feels comfortable. They are there to say, “pay attention” to what is going on. They are fancy and plain. And, as with the text, there is a lot being said all at once, without a lot of clutter. Aimed at adults, strong 14 and up teens could also enjoy. ~ Reviewed by Jeanette


Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley - Book Review

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$15.00
ISBN: 9780374110031
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Published: MCD x FSG Originals - August 25th, 2020

Maria Dahvana Headley’s translation is the absolute most fun I’ve ever had reading Beowulf. Remarkably she negotiates slang ("stan," "bro") and the particulars of Anglo-Saxon poetry like alliteration and accent as structural principles and kennings--those phrases like “whale road” for "sea". Furthermore hers is an explicitly feminist translation with an introduction that shows Headley’s scholarly chops and careful rationale for every move. Grendel’s mother is the warrior woman you never knew you needed. Beowulf himself seems a muscle-bound meathead. And Headley’s female dragon breathes new life into this epic that inspired Tolkien. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (LOA #333): A Library of America Anthology by Kevin Young - Book Review

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African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (LOA #333): A Library of America Anthology Cover Image
By Kevin Young (Editor)
$45.00
ISBN: 9781598536669
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Published: Library of America - October 20th, 2020

“My silence wears the ecstasy of song.” – Anita Scott Coleman. Kevin Young and the Library of America have curated quite simply the most significant collection of African American poetry. This remarkable achievement canonizes for at least a generation 250 years of a marginalized but vibrant tradition. Or rather traditions. Whatever your taste in poetic style, you will find something you are accustomed to (traditional rhyme and meter, free verse, slam, or even a little Gil Scott-Heron) and something completely new. There are generous selections of recent poetry, of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, but the real gift of this volume is all of the discoveries any reader will make. I’ve always liked Claude McKay, but OMG, “await / A new Fascism, the American brand, / And now worlds will be built upon race and hate / And the Eagle and the Dollar will command.” Be sure not to sleep on Toomer, Hayden, Tolson, or Randall. But start at the beginning in 1770 with Phillis Wheatley, who survived the Middle Passage, stood trial to assure a jury of white men that she could and indeed did write her poetry, traveled to England to find a publisher, and both “wrote herself into freedom” and through her achievement catalyzed the fledgling antislavery movement. This book is a gift, from Wheatley to “#sayhername.” ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane - Book Review

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By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (Illustrator)
$26.00
ISBN: 9781487007799
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Published: Anansi International - October 27th, 2020

This is a lovely book that transcends art, poetry and philosophy. The poetry is to be spoken aloud but you can whisper them, and the resounding truths ring loudly. The art holds magic in each line. Blending the two together you have a beautiful gift book that a reader can savour slowly. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


Whale Day: And Other Poems by Billy Collins - Book Review

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Whale Day: And Other Poems Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399589751
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Published: Random House - September 29th, 2020

Death is a recurring theme in Collins's latest collection, but as may be expected, he chides it with humor, disarms it with wit, and makes peace with its never grim inevitability. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


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