laptop graphic IAS

For Jennifer Reeser, Web conferred blessings on perspective and more

Part 3 of 3 What was the world of poetry like before most Americans gained access to the Internet? For one thing, fewer poets were published. In order to get into a print magazine, your work was vetted by an editor. Universities controlled most public readings. In one sense, you had to be known to the ‘knowns’ in order to climb the ladder of publication and rewards. Although much has changed since that time, much remains the same. 

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Photo circa 1940 by Marion Post Walcott for US Government project. Bayou in Schriever, LA. (US Library of Congress)

The making of the incredibly versatile Jennifer Reeser

Pt. 2 of 3 Jennifer Reeser, in case you missed the first article in our series about her, is no ordinary writer. Exceptional poet, widely praised translator, essayist, and reviewer, Reeser has long refused to confine her intellect to one form or genre. Years ago, a famous poet’s son who became an accomplished writer told how his father “made his head.” As with everything, seeds of one’s future are sown at a very young age.

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Cover of Reeser's collection 'The Lalaurie Horror'

Ghost tours and voodoo—nothing off limits for Reeser’s poetry

Pt. 1 of 3 Let’s face it. Poetry can be boring. On the other hand, poetry can be exhilarating when the writer dares to tread on murky ground. Jennifer Reeser does the latter. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and in her own collections, and you never know what subject she will tackle next. A master sonneteer and expert at other forms as well, her poems fall flawlessly on the ear. Among those I found extremely interesting is Reeser’s collection The Lalaurie Horror, described as a “poetic ghost tour” of a mansion once owned by an alleged female serial

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El Plomo mummy copy photo Jason Quinn

A brutal headline rekindles a poem I will never forget

Each night I take about 30 minutes to read news before I go to bed. For some reason, this usually relaxes me, a fact that confounds my husband. Last night, the opposite happened. I read a news story about a murder, and the details are permanently impressed on my memory. The story was about the killing of a baby. 

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(L to R) Gerry and the Schaks: Kim Balaschak on keyboard, Gerry Sewell doing vocals, and Jim Balaschak on guitar.

Meet Gerry and the Schaks: American classics, skilled musicians, an unforgettable voice

I encountered the band Gerry and the Schaks quite by accident. I’d read a fascinating novel, The Ruby Tear Catcher, by Nahid Sewell, and after I’d written about the novelist for a national magazine, I remained connected with Nahid via Facebook. One day I was scrolling down notifications, and saw a post she’d made about her husband’s music. I clicked on it. I loved what I found. 

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Via Twitter, a brutally honest and laugh-worthy bipartisan political ad

Twitter is a cesspool as I’ve often said, but there are nuggets mixed in with the slime. One such nugget surfaced today via James Woods’ account. Woods got it from a funny political site where dogs are the top stars. That site appears to have gotten it from YouTube. If this sounds entertaining, it is. All manner of celebs Tweet, and there’s plenty for politics groupies to enjoy regardless of your preferences.

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Colleagues, journalists, former students and many others came together to celebrate poet and novelist James Dickey's 70th birthday in 1993. (Photo: Indie Art South)

National Poetry Day launches in UK, but Americans get in on the fun

At first I thought it was a mistake because I’ve covered National Poetry Month stories for a long time. In the US, April is the month we celebrate poetry. As I read through posts on the Twitter cesspool, I realized the Brits celebrate the genre differently. Turns out today, October 4, is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom. It also turns out I found some nice poems nestled in a lot of lame verses. 

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medicine bottles

The show must go on—unless you’re too sick

Every performer deals with it at some point. Things are bopping right along, going great, and then it hits. Someone gifts you with something you definitely don’t want—a virus. But you keep going because you have to. You may think to yourself it’s just a bug, and after a few days you’ll toss it off because you’re young and healthy. Then comes the point when you realize, yes, the show must go on, but sometimes, you just can’t. 

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Gordon Lightfoot 2009 Arnielee

Most requested songs at gigs are often from the past

It doesn’t matter if you’re a performer or a music enthusiast, if you’ve taken in live music performances, you will always witness special requests. While it’s true most of my experience is in Americana or country venues, the requests cover all genres. “Time after Time” is a perfect example. 

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