If you’re a baby boomer, you know what D-Day was and what it stands for. If you’re younger, probably not so much. The tragic dearth of history, both global and domestic, in US classrooms has led to broad ignorance on more topics than I can count. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 men were carried across the English Channel to begin wresting France from the hands of the National Socialist German Workers Party, more popularly known as the “Nazis.” Mother Nature had actually delayed the crossing by a day. Thousands of Allied troops died; thousands of Nazis died.
Poet Jennifer Reeser has a new sonnet at Rattle, a print and online magazine known for publishing poets laureate and emerging voices. The sonnet, “Strong Feather Buries the White Woman’ is powerful, not just in terms of the history of our young country, the US, but in terms of my personal history. By coincidence as I read her sonnet for the first time, I was also engrossed in Reeser’s latest collection, Indigenous. In between reading those poems, I’ve been immersed in reading the A Song of Ice and Fire novels the HBO series Game of Thrones was based upon. Her
I’m not sure why I do this, because I read during the year too, but as summer approaches, I come up with a reading list. Maybe it’s a holdover from my school days. This year my list is ambitious. I’ve purchased Jennifer Reeser’s much-praised poetry collection Indigenous. I just purchased the 5-book bundle of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. I deliberately didn’t read the novels until the Game of Thrones series on TV began to come to a close, so I’ll read them now and do some commentary on the books in comparison to
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
It’s happened before and it will happen again. It’s happened to me personally and professionally. One simple poem can stop all motion and inspire even the most hardened anti-poetry type. I have many examples of this, based in part on the tours and readings I did to promote my book. My most recent experience happened on my deck out back on one of our football Saturdays.
About five years ago, a professor at the US Naval Academy got into hot water. Why? He included a football poem for students to read in his English class. The poem was about football, it’s true, but like any fine poem, it’s about far more than that. Professor Bruce Fleming’s decision to teach “Kong Looks Back on his Tryout With the Bears” was a blessing to me even though I don’t know him.