National Poetry Month 2018 | Days 11-15

This April, I’m reading one poem per day to celebrate National Poetry Month! I asked you for recommendations, compiled a list of the most promising-sounding works, and have been having great fun with this project ever since! This is the third of what will eventually be six updates, with my thoughts about the most recent five poems I’ve read in each post.

Enjoy!

P.S. Check out my earlier National Poetry Month ’18 posts here.

4/11

Advice to a Prophet

Richard Wilbur

A beautiful, haunting musing on the connection between humans and the natural world. God, why are all these poems so timely? Probably a new favorite.

4/12

A History of Sexual Preference

Robin Becker

This made my head spin, but in a good way! It moves fluidly through both gender and time… very inventive and unexpected.

4/13

The Ocean Inside Him

Rick Noguchi

LOVE the imagery here! Not actually sure if this was meant to be serious or playful, but either way I honestly think it would make an amazing picture book?

4/14

Still When I Picture It The Face of God Is A White Man’s Face

Shane McCrae

I love the way this poem mirrors waves… and a child’s short attention span. This poem felt BREATHLESS to me, I suppose. Gotta check out more of this guy’s work!

4/15

Dinosaurs in the Hood

Danez Smith

A beautiful poem on the importance of imagination and seeing yourself reflected in stories! I added a video from Button Poetry of Smith performing this poem to my watch later playlist on YouTube and I cannot WAIT to see it.

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Have you read any of the poems mentioned here, or any by the same authors? Do you have any recommendations for further reading for me based on these works – a sort of “if you liked that, try this” thing? And how are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

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National Poetry Month 2018 | Days 6-10

This April, I’m reading one poem per day to celebrate National Poetry Month! I asked you for recommendations, compiled a list of the most promising-sounding works, and have been having great fun with this project ever since! This is the second of what will eventually be six updates, with my thoughts about the most recent five poems I’ve read in each post.

Enjoy!

P.S. Check out my earlier National Poetry Month ’18 posts here.

4/6

Rosa Parks

Nikki Giovanni

I was surprised to find that most of it actually isn’t about Ms. Parks! It uses the famous Pullman Porters as a lens through which to explore the civil rights movement. I love the way this poem just pulls you along. Poetry has a momentum all its own.

4/7

We Lived Happily During The War

Ilya Kaminsky

This poem will never not be timely… I recommend that everyone read the whole thing. It’s impossible to read this without your stomach twisting into knots at the thought of Syria.

4/8

Autumn

T.E. Hulme

I love personification as a literary device, especially when it doesn’t feel cheesy or forced. This was absolutely, 100% perfect. And beautiful! I’m currently ensconced comfortably in springtime, but this poem made me long for the fall!

4/9

Gay Pride Weekend, S.F., 1992

Brenda Shaughnessy

This poem is so rich with imagery and feeling and ELECTRICITY. I didn’t want it to end. I want to live inside of it, forever.

4/10

The Bridge

C. Dale Young

So playful! And heartfelt. And don’t those two things so often go hand in hand? I too want to pour out my love for so many things in this world… I love the way this excerpt from the poem explores a word that happens to be my middle name – which I didn’t always appreciate!

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Have you read any of the poems mentioned here, or any by the same authors? Do you have any recommendations for further reading for me based on these works – a sort of “if you liked that, try this” thing? And how are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

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The Top 5 Plays On My Shakespearean TBR

Happy birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!

What better way to celebrate than by discussing which of the Bard’s plays I’m most excited to read someday soon?

1. Macbeth

I’ve tried to read this several times before and couldn’t get into it, but since I read Hamlet in 2016 and King Lear in 2017 – two other Shakespeare plays I struggled with in the past – I think I’m ready for it now. Looking forward to the bloodthirsty, tyrannical characters + eerie setting!

2. The Tempest

I want to read this because A) many of my friends love and B) I’ve read numerous books that reference Prospero, Miranda, Caliban, et cetera. And THAT STORM sound incredible! I can only hope that scene lives up to my expectations. The one in King Lear made chills run up my spine, no lie.

3. Othello

I was meant to read this for the Shakespeare 400 course I took in the summer of 2016… but I faked my way through it because I was severely depressed and “out of it” at the time. Oops! (Actually, I’m not so sure I managed to fake my way through, since based on my quiz grades my professor probably knew what I was up to!) Anyway, I’m curious to read Shakespeare’s take on race.

4. Pericles

Not a popular choice, I know! This was another assigned text from Shakespeare 400 that, you guessed it, I only pretended to read. My class saw it performed at Iowa City’s version of Shakespeare in the Park, though, so I’m much more familiar with its plot than with that of Othello. I enjoyed the performance so I figured, why not give this a chance and try to get further than act two?

5. The Merchant of Venice

If I remember correctly, my mom gave me the option of reading this way back in high school? But I chose The Taming of the Shrew instead, I think. Shylock’s name has been mentioned a lot in my English classes and I’m like WHO IS HE???

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Well, there you have it. One of these days I’d like to read allll of Shakespeare’s plays, but for now I want to concentrate on these five. It may take me a few years to get around to completing just this list, but that’s OK. I’d rather go slowly and take the time to really appreciate his stories, rather than speed through them without absorbing much of anything.

What Shakespeare plays have you read? (Do you have any favorites?) Which ones are next on your TBR?

P.S. Most of Shakespeare’s works that I read + enjoyed in high school were comedies. (I can give you specific titles if you’d like.) Based on my taste in his plays, as well as in literature in general, do you have any recommendations as to which of his other plays I should tackle after this bunch?

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Spring Favorites

With posts about my fall, winter, Christmas, and now spring favorites, there’s only one season left to do. Summer’s warm weather will be upon us soon, but for now let’s focus on SPRING and everything it has to offer!

As always, I hope this post gets you thinking about what it is you most appreciate about the seasons!

books.

I started reading Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series in April 2014… yeah, I loved it so much I remember the date that specifically! I know the later books are quite dark + violent, but I will forever associate this series with the brilliantly sunny days of early spring.

Jacqueline Kelly’s The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is another book that reminds me of spring, although this has less to do with when I read it and more with the subject + setting: It’s about nature and evolution and Charles Darwin! So naturally I think of spring, when everything that lay dormant during the bitterly cold winter begins to grow and flourish once again.

Finally, I think of The Raven Boys and its sequels by Maggie Stiefvater, since the first book opens on April twenty-fourth – AKA St. Mark’s Eve. I don’t know anything at all about St. Mark but I think of this series, its wonderful characters, and the fictional town of Henrietta, VA every time this date comes around!

movies.

Not quite sure why, but spring brings to mind Lord of the Rings. Do I associate spring with the luxurious green of the Shire? Or does it have something to do with my almost-obsessive tendency to keep track of dates that feature prominently in my favorite stories? I love to trace the progress of the Fellowship from my birthday on September 22nd – yeah, I share it with Frodo and Bilbo! – to March twenty-fifth, when the One Ring is finally destroyed.

tv.

Doctor Who, honestly. I first got into the show in the spring of… 2013? 2014? Somewhere around there. And several of the recent seasons have come out in the spring. I don’t know. My main TV-watching times are the summer or winter, tbh, because that’s when I have the most time to catch up on shows.

music.

I associate Hayley Kiyoko’s EP Citrine with the fall because that’s when it was released and I first heard it, but the track “Palace” makes me imagine a cute springtime wlw romance. Reminds me of sunshine and daydreaming and lazy afternoons spent lying on the grass in a park!

food.

Plastic Easter eggs filled with candy! My family isn’t religious, so to us the holiday is more about making yummy food and maybe inviting a few friends or relatives over. When I think of Easter, I also think of ham, which we often eat on that day.

clothes.

More than anything, I think of making a trip or two into town to buy new clothes during spring break. But this is also the time of year when I slowly begin wearing sweaters less often and put on shorts far too early. (Which is always a bad idea, because then my friends have to listen to me complaining about BEING COLD.)

activities.

I absolutely adore going for walks in the springtime. I love seeing how the grass gradually becomes more green as the weeks go by. And the smell of damp earth… it’s one of the most comforting scents I know. When I come across it, I understand what people mean when they say that life begins again in the spring and I get real emotional, no lie. 

memories.

I will never forget meeting Alison Bechdel when she visited my town in April 2016! She autographed my copy of Fun Home (and drew a lil doodle of herself!) while I said something unintelligent in a probably-squeaky voice because I was super nervous.

I also fondly remember the Literary Retellings & Impersonations writing workshop I took last spring. I made so many great friends there, read some truly amazing books, and produced some of my best pieces of writing yet! It didn’t hurt that the professor was incredible, too.

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What are your spring favorites? Be sure to tell me in the comments below OR write your very own post about your favorite spring-related things! I don’t mind at all if you steal this idea; in fact it would make me super happy.

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An Update On My Classes | Group Presentations, Cardi B, & STRESSING TF OUT (!)

Hi, everyone! I haven’t been very active here lately… I’ve been either sick, dealing with a bad bout of mental health, or super freaking BUSY with a kazillion end-of-semester responsibilities.

But I made time for a quick update. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately!

Diversity & Power in the US

Currently hard at work on a partner presentation about Moonlight! How many school projects can one person possibly do about that movie, you ask? THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST. This is an introductory-level course, so we’re keeping things pretty basic with a discussion of quantity vs. quality of representation, intersectionality, et cetera. The whole class will vote on their favorite presentation and whoever wins gets a prize… fingers crossed that it’s me!

Women in Premodern East Asian Literature

It’s smooth sailing from here on out: All I’ve got to do is keep on top of my readings, take the final quiz, make some minor edits to a creative writing assignment, and type up a reflection essay about what I learned in the course. We’ve already completed the bulk of the work and there is no final exam in this course, so now I just have to hang in there!

Women & Their Bodies in Health & Illness

Really gonna miss this class! I have a six-page paper due next Thursday that I haven’t even begun to think about, so I should probably get on that ASAP. And then it’s just a matter of showing up to the final few class sessions for a discussion of that day’s assigned reading…

Transnational Feminism

Working on a group presentation in this class, too. We decided to research the prison-industrial complex. Each member can either read and annotate three scholarly articles or read a book on their group’s subject, so I picked The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. I’d like to say I chose it solely because it provides an overview of our topic, but I also picked it because I’m sick of searching for scholarly articles to use in assignments!

Also, it’s on my 2018 TBR list anyway, sooooo…

Music Journalism

The final article is due a few weeks from now and I still have no idea what I’m going to write about. We have to interview at least one person and every time I think I have a good idea, I get stuck because I don’t know how I would ever get them to agree to it when they have so many other demands on their time.

Never fear, I’ll figure something out. Always have, always will.

In the meantime, we’ve been asked to review Cardi B’s latest album before class on Thursday, so I’m planning to give that a listen tomorrow!

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How is your semester going so far? What have you been up to this April? (Are you as ready for school to be over as I am?!)

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The Cheer All Year Tag

Why, hello there! Today’s tag is taken from Oakstar @ An Amazing Case of Wanderlust! This tag was originally created in 2015 to spread cheer during that year and it seems almost impossible that so much time should have passed already. I graduated high school in 2015 and soon, now that we’re in 2018, I will begin my senior year of college. WHAT EVEN.

Anyway, I try so hard to be grateful for all the little things that cheer me up in one way or another, so this tag is right up my alley. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

What is something that cheers you up when you’re blue? Why? 

Music! Not a unique response at all, I’m afraid, but I’m trying to be honest here, not original. I have a variety of Spotify playlists, mostly ones I’ve made myself, that I love listening to if I’m having a bad day. Queen fixes everything, did you know?

What objects make you feel cheery?

Thick sweaters. Letters from friends & family. Cats. Photos of long-ago happy times. Tea and hot chocolate. Crazy socks. Skittles. Books both beloved and as-yet unread.

What do you do to cheer others up?

I love hugging or cuddling with people – as long as they’re OK with it, of course! If they’re not, or if they live far away, I’ll text them or send them wholesome memes. (I have a giant and ever-growing stash on my phone, cobbled together from various wholesome meme pages I follow on Facebook.)

And sometimes, crankiness is due to low blood sugar, or is exacerbated by it, so I’ll encourage my friends to EAT A GODDAMN MEAL PLS. My roommate and I often eat dinner together and talk after one or both of us has had a bad day.

Who cheers you up the most?

My mom is one of the first people I turn to when I’m feeling down. She always texts me good morning and gives good advice when I call her to complain about all my problems.

My best friend, Jill, is also one of the cheeriest people I know. In fact, she is my role model for what truly positive and supportive friendships can be, and I work hard to emulate her! She’s studying abroad this semester and aaaah I miss her hugs so much.

What is the most cheerful time of year for you?

Hmmm… early fall, perhaps? When the leaves are just beginning to turn colors, the weather is cool but not cold, and school isn’t stressing me out yet. Plus, my birthday is in the early fall – the first day of the season, as a matter of fact!

What is something that happened recently that made you feel cheery?

[This is a scheduled post because I don’t have time to blog regularly during the semester anymore . As such, the Happening mentioned below took place in December when this post was written lmao sorry it’s not more recent.]

I’ve been cheery quite a lot lately, actually, but one event that sticks in my mind is making pancakes with my friend Clarissa when she came over to my house. Our breakfast turned out beautifully and we were laughing so hard at all sorts of little inside jokes and things!

What books or movies cheer you up?

Books:

  • Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements

Movies:

  • Miss Congeniality
  • Imagine Me & You
  • The Little Prince
  • Moana

What is the #1 thing that makes you feel cheerful?

Sunshine. Although my depression is year-round, one of the times it worsens is during the winter and I wonder if the increased hours of darkness is partially to blame. One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2018 is to spend more time outside; I’ve been trying to go for lots of walks and take my books outside with me to read so I can get some sun!

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I’m tagging:

And as always, feel free to participate whether or not I tagged you. (Or ignore this tag, if you so choose.)

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Based on what I’ve discussed here, are there any objects, hobbies, et cetera that you would recommend for those times when I need a little cheering up? Thanks!

P.S. Please remember that if you’re ever feeling blue and just need someone to talk to, I’m always here! Me and my memes.

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National Poetry Month 2018 | Days 1-5

This April, I’m reading one poem per day to celebrate National Poetry Month! I asked you for recommendations, compiled a list of the most promising-sounding works, and have been having great fun with this project ever since! This is the first of what will eventually be six updates, with my thoughts about the most recent five poems I’ve read in each post.

Enjoy!

4/1

To The New Year

W.S. Merwin

Such a beautiful piece, but if I’m honest it left me feeling more than a little melancholy! The poem itself seems to have this stillness + silence that you don’t want to break. With spring just getting underway, this was a great way to kick off National Poetry Month.

4/2

Buffalo Dusk

Carl Sandburg

Another somber poem! I feel like I’ve heard a lot about this one so I have no idea how this is my first time reading it! Definitely a lot shorter than I expected.

4/3

Culture and the Universe

Simon J. Ortiz

An incredible, though brief, musing on what it means to be human. The line “we are measured by vastness beyond ourselves” made shivers run down my spine. I’ll have to check out more of this guy’s work!

4/4

There Will Come Soft Rains

Sarah Teasdale

Every poem I’ve read so far is sad yet beautiful… this is an especially timely one. Now I just need to read Ray Bradbury’s story based on this poem!

4/5

Ocean of Forms

Rabindranath Tagore

If I’m honest I don’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about here, so I’ll definitely have to do some research! But I loved the language he uses + the way this poem flows. This is my first time reading his work after meaning to for a very, very long time…

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Have you read any of the poems mentioned here, or any by the same authors? Do you have any recommendations for further reading for me based on these works – a sort of “if you liked that, try this” thing? And how are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

P.S. I apologize for the delay in posting this… as the end of the semester approaches I’m more and more busy + tired, so today was the earliest I could get around to writing this post! Hope you don’t mind.

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