Saturday, December 25, 2010

Celebrate Me Home

I was intending this post to be on New Year's Eve, but I can't wait. I may have to update it before then with revisions, but it's 7:00 am on Christmas morning, and I'm antsy.

Every year I compile a list of books I've read and denote recommendations. As you should know by now, I'm quite fond of lists. So, this is mine for 2010. I encourage you to make a book list as well. I'd love to know what other people are reading. Many of these were chosen by myself, others were required reading, and still others were recommendations. I love getting book recommendations. They make me feel warm and fuzzy, like when I eat gingerbread Pop Tarts while cuddled up in a blanket. (Yes, that's what I'm doing right now.)

So, happy reading, and Merry Christmas!!!

Dracula - Bram Stoker*
The Children of Hurin - J.R.R. Tolkien
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott *(If you're a writer)
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving*
Lawrence of Arabia - Anthony Nutting
The Death of Ivan Ilych - Tolstoy
The Awakening - Kate Chopin*
Confessions of a Non-Barbie - Kinda Wilson*
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson*
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger*
The Shining - Stephen King*
Lady Chatterly's Lover - D.H. Lawrence
Different Seasons - Stephen King*
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula Le Guin*
All's Well That Ends Well - Shakespeare
A Novel Idea - various authors including Angela Hunt and Terri Blackstock*(If you're a writer)
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston*
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radclffe*(If you're okay with an exhaustingly long read/if you're a die hard Austen fan)
The Stranger - Albert Camus*(If you like weird French writers)
The Complete Greek Tragedies including Hecuba, The Trojan Women, Andromache, andIon - Euripides III
The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien*
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis*
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
The House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
Moo - Jane Smiley
Death in the Garden - Elizabeth Ironside*
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas*
Sushi for One - Camy Tang*
Antigone - Sophocles
Hamlet - Shakespeare*
American Gods - Neil Gaiman*
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand*
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins*
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins*
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins*
Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman*
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson* (DISCLAIMER) Very explicit violence and sex. But, worth the read. It's fantastic.
The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson*
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson*
Jane Slayre - Charlotte Bronte & Sherri Browning Erwin* (If I had never read Jane Eyre, I'd still love this. It's wonderful.)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Edward Albee*
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury**
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury**
A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams*
Only Uni - Camy Tang*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorite Words

Last semester, I was instructed to compose a poem using some of my favorite words. It turned out to be very nautical, which surprised me. Although I think it's because I tried to use the words I love and not very many extras. I like fathom as a verb rather than a noun, but eh. It fit. It was a very fun exercise to do, so I think you should try it. I'd certainly like to know other people's favorite words.

Ode to an Oarsman

A beetling minion
Gilds the depths
With round alchemy.
His sleight-of-hand rudders
Against thumpable fathoms.
The arrowy surface smoothes,
Placates itself and basks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I hesitated posting this here, but new poetry is new poetry. I wrote it in trochaic tetrameter. Okay, so I didn't write it that way at first. But I revised it in that meter anyway. It's addressed to my own personal demon.

Scorn for the Scorner

Bureaucratic sycophant
rising up in rank, your reign
discontinues here and now.

You suppose my heavy eyes
cannot see you in the night,
but I feel your bulk against my
chest, just pressing to my core.

You are not a skulking shadow,
nor a many-horned beast.
You are nothing but a cheap suit.
Probably borrowed that tie as well.

A Mephistopheles you are
not. A fallen angel locked
low under a raging river?
Hardly. Just a peon who will
not fulfill his given task.

Now my soul will not meet with your
loathsome teeth. Instead the soup
d’jour will be a bit more dour.
Dreary. Demonic. Dispossessed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

And Other Poems

The word count on my story has not increased any since my last post, so in order to appease your righteous indignation, I offer this explanation:

I have been writing poetry.

When I enrolled in the course titled Studies in Poetry, I believed I would be submerged in the mechanics of poetry, able to appreciate great works of the past in new ways.

That has certainly been achieved, but quite a bit more on top of that has happened as well.

The group of people I took the class with are some of the most talented I've ever met, and as we plodded through the course, it became obvious that writing copious amounts of poetry was helping us understand and appreciate things better. So that is what we did. On the last week of class, our benevolent professor collected three poems from each of us and bound them in a book titled The Darkness Consumes All Light And Other Poems. Credit goes to my friend Caleb for the title. It bears the same name as one of his poems in our small anthology.

You won't find it in stores. I think we may be the only ones who own copies, and I'm proud to have a piece of this semester to keep.

Next semester I'll be in the 4000 level Poetry Writing class. There are four main poems assigned throughout the semester to be beaten and prodded and edited and revised and tortured numerous times through workshops. I'm sure there will be other small assignments, so I'll try to post those. For now, I'll try to keep up with my blog until the spring semester begins.

So now as part of my penance, please accept this poem. It isn't one I composed for the class. I'm sure I'll post plenty of those later.

Hate That

I’ve been moping around today
with some sick sense of anticipation
and trying to place exactly what it feels like.
A little like the thrill of the chill when
the air is cool enough to frost the windows
on my Volkswagen.
A little like opening a parcel from a relative
who doesn’t know how to buy presents.
Then it hit me.
This is the feeling that comes right when someone stops
in the middle of their sentence.
That hanging dread and gnawing agony.
Don’t you just—