Poetry Review

National Poetry Month

April is national poetry month! I love poetry, and I always use this time of year as an excuse to explore it more. Poetry gets a bad rap because it can be very vague or inaccessible at times, but I think a great poet can really cause you to emote and experience the poem just like an expert fiction writer can get you to experience a fictional story. I love raw emotion in poetry. That’s not always something you can find because poetry has been trending away from some of my favorite themes: naturalistic descriptions and confessionalism. Anyway, to honor national poetry month, I wanted to suggest 10 great books of poetry in case anyone is interested in delving into poetry this month.

The Infinitesimals by Laura Kasischke 

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Prelude to Bruise by Saaed Jones

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Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

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The History of Anonymity by Jennifer Chang 

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Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart

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Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

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Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth by Adrienne Rich 

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The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins 

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Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney 

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Time and Materials by Robert Hass 

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I hope everyone has a wonderful National Poetry month! Do you have a favorite poet? If so, be sure to let me know in the comments section so that I can check them out!

 

 

 

 

Personal, Update

Big Update! The MFA is Finished!

I have a great life update that I’m so excited to share – My MFA in Writing Fiction from Lindenwood University is now complete!

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My thesis, a collection of 8 short stories about motherhood (mostly fear of motherhood haha) was approved, and I finished my degree with a 4.0 GPA. The experience was so great. I learned so much, especially discipline. If I can get a master’s degree while working a full-time job, I know that I can write a novel while working full-time too!

I’m leaving Lindenwood with so many exciting ideas. I have two novels outlined that I’m going to start ASAP. I’m shopping around my short story collection, and I’m intrigued by the possibility of looking for an adjunct professor job too.

Anyway, I’ve mentioned school on this blog before, so I just wanted to update everyone and let you know that it’s now all over! 🙂

XOX

Tiffany

Book Review

Book Review: The Devil in the White City 

It’s no secret that I love mystery novels, but sometimes I like to delve into nonfiction and give true crime a chance instead. Recently, I had the pleasure of reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

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Erik Larson is a true master of nonfiction. I like nonfiction that flows kind of like a novel, and this definitely fits the bill. Larson makes history come to life, and I’ve loved all four of the books I’ve read from him. This one was no exception!

The Devil in the White City is about the serial killer H.H. Holmes who terrorized Chicago during the World Fair. It’s such an interesting portrait of a true villain. H.H. Holmes was enigmatic and charming and unhinged all at the same time. This books was absolutely fascinating as it delved into the events that led up to his reign of terror.

Also included in the book were tertiary historical references that really helped to round out the story and give it a definite sense of place. I felt immersed in the time period, and I definitely gained a better understanding of America in the late 1800s.

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Days of Abandonment

I know this makes me sound like a major nerd, but I actually have a favorite publishing company: Europa Editions. Europa publishes tons of international books that have been translated into English. I’ve found so many gems from this publishing company, but recently I read one that I just had to share: The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante.

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Elena Ferrante is an Italian author who is most known for being notoriously private. Her true identity has never been revealed, although there is plenty of speculation online as to who she might be. She is known most for her four-book Neapolitan series. The Days of Abandonment is one of her earlier works, but I thought it was an absolutely fantastic exploration of a crumbling relationship.

The Days of Abandonment follows a woman who is blindsided by her husband as he leaves her. In this short book (it’s only 188 pages), you can track her grief – from denial to emptiness to acceptance. This is one of the most emotionally raw books I’ve ever read, but it worked. I could see some complain that it is overly sentimental, but I disagree. I think that Ferrante has depicted the genuine emotion that comes from this situation. This is a hyper-realistic story that really touches on the psyche of the abandoned. Here, you can see how the whole family has to deal with this unexpected change. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for carefully crafted domestic literary fiction.

Book Review

Book Review: The Glass Castle 

If complicated memoirs are your thing, have I got a book for you! This is one that has been in the press a lot since there was recently a movie that came out that was based on this book. With all the buzz surrounding the movie, I decided to give The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls a try.

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This memoir is about Walls’ childhood. She grew up constantly moving around as her family struggled to scrape by. Her parents were clearly brilliant, but they were also clearly unstable. They rejected the notion of holding down “regular” jobs and tried to make their own way, often illegally, every place they lived. Walls and her siblings suffered the most in this situation as they were forced to act like the adults of the family.

I found this book to be so fascinating but also infuriating because no child should have to go through this. However, Walls still spoke with love and reverence regarding her parents. This memoir isn’t like an angry rant or anything like that. Rather, it’s a careful reminiscence of the past. She’s looking fondly on her childhood while also seeking how, in retrospect, there were lots of unfortunate incidents. Still, it’s clear that her overcoming her upbringing has made Walls extremely strong. I highly recommend this one.

Book Review

Book Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry 

Life is really busy, but sometimes I just want to be able to sit down and take time to learn new things. Recently, I’ve developed an interest in the field of physics. In high school and college, I studied lots of biology and chemistry, I even studied a lot of Calculus, but I never signed up for a physics class. Honestly, at the time it just seemed so boring. Now that I’ve been adult for a while, however, I’ve started to find it really interesting. Physics is tied to everything in life, and I wanted to learn more. Thankfully, I found Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

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This book was so well-written and it made learning fun. It had a light, conversational tone, but I never felt like it was trying to “dumb down” the study of physics. I never thought it would be so easy to learn about quantum mechanics and quarks and black holes. This book tackles big questions too, like: “What is the nature of time and space?” If you’re at all interested in this subject, I would highly recommend you give this one a try, especially if you’ve found physics to be intimidated before. In under 250 pages, you will learn a whole lot more than you expected!

Book Review

Book Review: They Thirst 

I know that vampires aren’t really a big trend anymore, but I still really love them in my fiction. Recently, I read a really great vampire horror novel: They Thirst by Robert McCammon.

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I love that this book seems to blend classic vampire expectations with more modern ones. It was like the perfect blend of Stoker’s Dracula and King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. There is plenty of horror, suspense, and intrigue to be had in this novel, and I really think it will appeal to lovers of horrors, especially those with a soft spot for vampires.