Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Welcome to my new followers (Thanks again, Alyosha)! If you haven't yet entered April's blog drawing, you have two more days to win free books. Go here for contest rules and to see the books I'm giving away.

Today is National Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, which means you carry around your favorite poem all day and inflict it upon everyone you meet. Which is what I intend to do here.

I had a hard time choosing. Something modern and obscure? Something famous that everyone was forced to read and hated in school? Something funny and accessible? I don't have a single favorite.

I chose this, just because I love it so much. And because it was Earth Day last week. And because it's Spring. And because Hopkins really is my favorite poet. I love the sounds. I love the images. It knocks me off my feet.

God's Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
   It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
   It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
   And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
   And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And, for all this, nature is never spent;
   There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
   Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Hold Ghost over the bent
   World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free books and why yesterday's poem was stupid

I almost let the month slip away without giving away free books.

I like books. I also like giving books away. Especially really fine books, with good stories and beautiful sentences. I try not to give away crappy books on my blog. I try not to give away books I didn't enjoy myself. They aren't always hot sellers. They are always books I have read, books I know you'll like, if you love words as much as I do.

This month's picks:

1. Smiles to Go, by Jerry Spinelli, who's one of my favorite authors.

2. Savvy, Ingrid Law, which I've offered before and nobody has snatched up yet, strangely. Probably because they don't know how great it is. (Newbery winner, folks!)

3. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. I, by Diana Wynne Jones. This is actually two books in one. It's also my new favorite fantasy series for kids. If you haven't discovered Jones yet, you must. Neil Gaiman is a fan, too. He says Jones is "...always perfectly magical." I agree. Just delightful fun.

 The free book drawing goes until Friday (April 30) at midnight.
Winners choose their books.
This is always a small contest. If you enter, you have excellent odds of winning, so don't get discouraged if you haven't won yet. It's probably only a matter of time if you keep entering.
Same rules as usual apply:
To enter,
1. Become a) a new follower of my blog or b) already be a follower
2. Comment on my blog and tell me that you follow
3. Be eighteen or get parent's permission to enter.

Tres simple!

My teenage daughter read yesterday's poem.

Her (voice dripping sarcasm): How is that a poem? Because the words are all lined up in columns?(eye-roll here)

 Me: (shrugging) Uh, I thought it was funny. I liked the word-play. You know: Hat/Hate?

Her: Look of scorn.

I forgot how stupid everything is when you're that age.

So today's poem has imagery and rhythm you can feel, like a drum-beat. And is short, because long is stupid.

Note: I also decided not to give away a poetry book, even though it is National Poetry Month, because apparently, nobody but me likes poetry.

This is just for torture purposes:

by Langston Hughes

We have tomorrow
Bright before us
Like a flame.

A night-gone thing,
A sun-down name.

And dawn-today
Broad arch above the road we came.

We march!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What, you don't like poetry?

The blog response to National Poetry month has been a little tepid, to say the least.

I don't blame you. Why read poetry if you aren't in school and (most of all) aren't being forced? Sigh. Because it's my blog and I like it.

You only have to suffer through five more days and then National Poetry Month will be over. I've decided to post a poem a day for this last week of Na-Po-Mo, just to torture you, culminating in Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, where you carry your favorite poem around with you all day and force other people to listen to it, like it or not. Ha!

But even if you're not a poetry-lover like me, I think you'll like today's poem, which is by Aaron Belz from Lovely, Raspberry, published by Persea Books. It was sent to me by as a daily poem to share with others, so I assume it's ok to share here. If not, my apologies.

The Love-Hat Relationship
by Aaron Belz

I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.
It is the relationship based on love of one another's hats.
The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial.
You don't necessarily even know the other person.
Also it is too dependent on whether the other person
is even wearing the favored hat. We all enjoy hats,
but they're not something to build an entire relationship on.
My advice to young people is to like hats but not love them.
Try having like-hat relationships with one another.
See if you can find something interesting about
the personality of the person whose hat you like.

Playing High and Dry with Sourdough

Lately I've been playing with dough. It's become a sort of a compulsion. Maybe because I'm tired of driving all the way to som...