Jogging with the Great Ray Charles
Book Review / August 19, 2017

Title: Jogging with the Great Ray Charles Author: Kenneth Sherman Genre: Poetry Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: October 11th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 88 Source: NetGalley A poetic masterclass from a writer at the height of his craft  Kenneth Sherman’s work has always displayed a vibrant lyricism, so it’s no surprise that his powerful new collection contains a number of poems with musical motifs. In such pieces as “Clarinet,” “Transistor Sister,” and the book’s titular poem, Sherman ponders our human transience while searching for “a voice to stand time’s test.” Sherman also confronts health concerns in a language that is Shaker-plain. The book concludes with the sombre, compassionate, and truly remarkable seven-part “Kingdom,” a meditation on the plight of the dispossessed. In a Globe and Mail review of The Well: New and Selected Poems, Fraser Sutherland notes, “Sherman always seems to be listening to the voice of Canadian soil and landscape at the same time as he is attentive to the great European metaphysical theme of the soul in conflict with the world and time.” So it is with Jogging with the Great Ray Charles. Sherman has also included three brilliant translations of Yiddish poets that appeared in the Malahat Review’s “At Home in Translation”…

Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work
Book Review / May 31, 2017

Title: Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (1888-2006) Genre: Poetry Publisher: Shout! Factory Release Date: April 18th, 2006 Format: Audiobook Pages: 68 Source: Library Editor: Rebekah Presson Mosby Poetry On Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (1888-2006) is an engrossing collection of poems read by the people who wrote them, from the dawn of sound recording to the current day. Over the course of four CDs and an info-packed book, it tells the story of the past 120 years of poetry in English, from Romanticism (Dylan Thomas) to Modernism (T.S. Eliot), from the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes) to Black Arts (Amiri Baraka), from rhyme and meter (Alfred, Lord Tennyson) to free verse (Adrienne Rich), and beyond. Equally important, it allows listeners to understand exactly how the poets intended their poems to be read aloud. Poetry On Record is the most comprehensive collection of its kind and is a must-have for any fan of poetry, or for anyone who wants an expertly chosen overview as a starting point. (via Goodreads) Amazon Growing up, I did not have a particularly positive experience with poetry. It was challenging. I was frustrated with the way it was taught and how I was…

Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph
Book Review / February 6, 2017

Title: Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph Author: Roxane Orgill Genre: Poetry Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: March 6th, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 66 Source: Library Illustrator: Francis Vallejo What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz. When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a…

Out of the Dust
Book Review / May 27, 2016

Title: Out of the Dust Author: Karen Hesse Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Release Date: January 1st, 1997 Format: Paperback Pages: 256 Source: Owned When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring. Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength. (via Goodreads) Amazon     As to be expected for a story set during the dust bowl in Oklahoma during the Great Depression this story is dark and dreary. Even bordering on a gruesome quality that, thankfully, the verse distracts us from. However, this is also a story of hope and human connection, making it also beautiful and heart wrenching. Out of the Dust is a 1998 Newbery Medal-winning book written as a journal. Billie Jo is our narrator and she begins her entries in 1934. However, unlike most epistolary novels, narrative poetry is used to tell the story instead of…

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes
Book Review / April 1, 2016

Title: Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes Author: Chris Duffy (editor) Genre: Poetry Publisher: First Second Release Date: October 11th, 2011 Format: Hardback Pages: 103 Source: Library Illustrator: Too many to count! First Second is very proud to present Nursery Rhyme Comics. Featuring fifty classic nursery rhymes illustrated and interpreted in comics form by fifty of today’s preeminent cartoonists and illustrators, this is a groundbreaking new entry in the canon of nursery rhymes treasuries. From New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s “There Was a Crooked Man” to Bad Kitty author Nick Bruel’s “Three Little Kittens” to First Second’s own Gene Yang’s “Pat-a-Cake,” this is a collection that will put a grin on your face from page one and keep it there. Each rhyme is one to three pages long, and simply paneled and lettered to ensure that the experience is completely accessible for the youngest of readers. Chock full of engaging full-color artwork and favorite characters (Jack and Jill! Old Mother Hubbard! The Owl and the Pussycat!), this collection will be treasured by children for years to come. (via Goodreads) Amazon What a delightful collection of nursery rhymes! Growing up, I owned a beautiful collection of Nursery Rhymes. My mother would read them to me all…

%d bloggers like this: