Written by Nicki Leone Sunday, 01 April 2012 14:01
It’s National Poetry Month – Time to Write a Poem!
This month Book Balloon member Janet McAdams, is offering up a daily prompt for starting a poem in the Creative Writing thread on the forum. Just try to start a poem every day. You don’t have to finish them this month; you can finish them in May, June, and July.
Janet is the author of two poetry collections (The Island of Lost Luggage and Feral), teaches creative writing at Kenyon College, and edits the Earthworks Poetry Series from Salt Publishing.
Some of the prompts will be subject-based and some will suggest formal strategies for starting a poem (She promises she’ll get to limericks!). This coming Wednesday's Poetry Prompter will be poet (and fiction writer and librettist) Lara Candland. There may have a few more surprise guests before the month is over.
The first prompt is "a simple exercise in writing an autobiographical poem.":
You’ll want to come up with a handful of key phrases like “When I was five. . . .” “ When I was fourteen. . . .” “When I was twenty-three. . .” and so forth. Three phrases will do, but five is probably better, and perhaps more, depending upon how old you are.
In coming up with these phrases, choose years (ages) of significance in your life. Use each phrase as a prompt to help you write about an important time in your life. You might want to describe a key incident or person or place in response to each prompting phrase. Don’t worry about making the different parts of your poem parallel or of equal lengths.
And don’t overthink it—just write. Tell some lies if you need to. As Frank O’Hara said, “You just go on your nerve. If someone's chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don't turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’"
Read more at the "Go to the thread" Thread.
Thursday, 16 February 2012 18:06
And now, a drumroll, please.....
BookBalloon's Unofficial and Unauthorized Best Reads of 2011 (not necessarily published in 2011):
Our Winner: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt!
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan
Galore by Michael Crummey
A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Special thanks to Julie (Starling) for collecting votes and compiling this list.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 00:00
Sharon Kay Penman will be available to answer questions about her writing and talk about her newest book, Lionheart, Wednesday and Thursday, February 15-16. Please join us in the Forum for this discussion.
Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel, writes:
"The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It's as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart." (-Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel )
You can read an excerpt of Lionheart here.Sharon Kay Penman is the author of seven critically acclaimed historical novels: The Sunne in Splendour, Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning, When Christ and his Saints Slept, Time and Chance, and Devil’s Brood.
Thursday, 09 February 2012 00:00
Margot Livesey will be available to answer questions about her writing and talk about her newest book, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, this coming Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. Please join us in the Forum for this discussion.Sarah Towers in the New York Times writes:
“The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” Livesey’s appealing new novel, is, as she has explained, a kind of continued conversation, a “recasting” of both “Jane Eyre” and Livesey’s own childhood. Set mostly in Scotland in the late 1950s and ’60s, the narrative follows the fortunes of a young girl, Gemma Hardy, who is beset by bad luck. Born to a Scottish mother and an Icelandic father, she was orphaned by the age of 3, when she was taken from Iceland to Scotland by her mother’s brother. There her original Icelandic name was discarded. As the novel opens, 10-year-old Gemma’s beloved uncle has also died, and her cold, snobbish aunt is sending her off to be a “working girl” at a harsh boarding school.Margot's previous novels include Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona and The House on Fortune Street.
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 16:02
Lauren B shares with us "what I loved this year":
Book of the Year for me is a tie between the elegant and affecting The Hare with the Amber Eyes and the rollicking and affecting The Wilder Life. Both books took me somewhere else and left much powerful emotion in their wake.
I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson. Spot-on re: teenage girls' sexuality and a really compassionate take on David Cassidy.
Cities of Salt by Abdulrahman Munif. A profound novel about the oil industry in Saudia Arabia and the destruction of the nomadic life. Everyone should read this.
Corrigan by Caroline Blackwood. Wicked, wicked novel.
Bossypants by Tina Fey. I read most of this in a public place, even though I was laughing so hard, I was practically hyperventilating.
I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti. Looking at the West Bank through the eyes of a Palestinian poet.
This Human Season by Louise Dean. Humane and thoughful novel about the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.
The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon. College sweethearts meet again as adults. If you are of a certain age, this book will move you.
Just Kids by Patti Smith. It took me two tries, but I was totally charmed. I adore her tender account of her younger self.
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