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UPSTREAM: A Book of Selected Essays ~Mary Oliver

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Mary Oliver beloved poet takes a look at the beauty of the natural world and offers the reader an opportunity to investigate the mysteries and bounties of the world and the world of literature.  UPSTREAM could be a series of lectures that as one reads takes you down the paths her feet have taken and dazzles the senses with the whole adventure.

UPSTREAM is prose with poetic license and glorious word descriptions, which allows the reader to understand life through the experience and to understand how Oliver’s life developed and her worldview was enhanced by the glories of earth and walking through.

UPSTREAM is a meditation on the books and experiences that allowed a child to grow and become; forcing a life to create on it’s own strength, knowledge and power.

“UPSTREAM follows Oliver as she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, her boundless curiosity for the flora and fauna that surround her, and the responsibility she has inherited from Shelley, Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, and Frost, the great thinkers and writers of the past, to live thoughtfully and intelligently, and to observe with passion.  Oliver positions not just herself upstream, but us as well, as she encourages us to keep moving, to lose ourselves in the awe of the unknown, and to give power and time to the creative and whimsical urges that live within us.” (Book Cover)

UPSTREAM is a memoir of the child to the learner, to the writer, to the poet, and to the teacher we so admire and study.

UPSTREAM is a book I purchased for my own library to read, contemplate and enjoy for many years to come.  I wanted to share it with you because it means so very much to me.

“Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight.  Over the course of her long career, she has received numerous awards.  Her fourth book, AMERICAN PRIMITIVE, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984.  She has led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching.  Oliver currently lives in Florida”   (Book Cover)

Mary Oliver Wikipedia
Mary Oliver Facebook
On Being Interview with Mary Oliver entitled “Listening to the World”

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THE EAGLE TREE: The Remarkable Story of A Boy and A Tree ~Ned Hayes

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

An environmental love story, takes place in my hometown, is a great voice for autism and potential.  Peter March Wong is a fourteen-year-old boy who loves to climb trees – at least 3 everyday.  He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about trees and he is a gifted scientist.

March and his mother have moved into a smaller house, because Dad has moved to Arizona.  This move is very unsettling to March and he needs to climb a tree, a very tall tree.  He does not follow the rules because he discovers an extremely tall, old tree in the distance, when he was up in the new neighbor’s tree.  He spent too long up in the tree and his mother is worried and concerned….everything is new and different…. March explodes into a screaming and hand flapping experience and the police arrive to take him to a hospital for observation.  Now March needs to learn new behaviors as he comes into adulthood and in order to stay with his mother.

The huge EAGLE TREE is also under attack, as a developer wants to clear-cut the area and put up houses and apartments right at that very spot.

“Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, THE EAGLE TREE eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.” (cover)

I so enjoyed the comments in the book that praised our wonderful schools and the commitment to assisting children to be their best.  March’s mother will not move to Arizona because there are no programs like here and no commitment to education for all.  Washington State has amazing schools.

I knew nothing about this book when TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review. I am so pleased to share this story with you.  It was a wonderful read; a hopeful read.

The Librarian I was working with last week said he had the book on his list and he was #15 for check out; he could hardly wait for his turn.

I want to share two cover quotes that I believe are significant in sharing this book with others:

“Every human experience is unique, but THE EAGLE TREE provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective.  The descriptions of climbing in EAGLE TREE get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism.  The experience of navigating a tree climb is described in detail with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

“A gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature.  The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism.  Credible, authentic, powerful.”  Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

I enjoyed every single page of this book and cheered for March’s growth, passion, and determination.  This book should be required reading at least for our whole city and will bring a sense of pride and button popping spirit for our community and our efforts in behalf of our natural resources.

From the cover:

“Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.  THE EAGLE TREE is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves.  Hayes lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and children.”

Ned Hayes Facebook
Ned Hayes Webpage

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INCARNATION: A Novel ~Laura Davis Hays

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Are you ready for a fascinating read?  Do you like to think and figure out what is going on in a story?  How is your intuition?  How do you feel about the environment and science?  Do we have one life or do we come back many times?  Do we have a task to complete while we reside here on earth?

The INCARNATION keeps asking those questions and it truly made my brainwork and stop to contemplate and sort.  This book is a good mental workout and at the same times an interesting and provocative story that includes science and archeology, nightmares and psychology, abusive behavior and loving kindness.  A great many characters and different locations and scenes keep the reader on their toes and alert to what is happening in the story.

TLC Book Tours  sent me PDF copy of this book for review.  I used a pencil and paper to make notes and form a timeline and compare dream sequences and contemporary story lines.  A very interesting read, which would not be hurried.

The characters in the dream sections are from Atlantis, which is just very interesting on its own.  Iriel, Gewil, and Jarad take us through this story and introduce us to Muamdi, the Grandmother and “Chrystal – minde “

Kelsey, Sam, and Harrison are the contemporary incarnation of the Atlantis characters.  As confusing as the story line began in the “white” world and all the “control” issues it was worth it to sort and assess the interconnection and where the outcome was leading.  Kelsey and Harrison are scientists working on an organism which would clean up oil spills and the like in the ocean, hopefully not damaging the sea life.  This is about saving the world and keeping the earth moving forward and surviving human flaws and contrary actions – greed.

I liked the adventure in the story and the Metaphysical, supernatural references and the revealing treatment of contemporary women-not much has changes throughout history. “Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.” (Cover)

This book is very hard to put down, a compelling read and quite the adventurous thriller.  One will want to read every word and then maybe pick it up and read it again.

Laura Davis Hays is the award winning author of Incarnation, a metaphysical thriller set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a remote Island off the coast of Belize, and the lost continent of Atlantis. She is also the author of the forthcoming fantasy series, The Atlantis Material, and a collection of linked stories set in Denmark, her ancestral homeland, in the early part of the 20th century.

Laura writes with a mind balanced between right and left-brain capabilities that leads to a combination of flights of fancy and complexity of structure in her work.

A graduate of Rice University, Laura lives in Santa Fe with her husband, Jim, and two cats, Rufus and Dexter.

Laura Davis Hays website
Laura Davis Hays Blog
Laura Davis Hays Facebook
Laura Davis Hays Twitter

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THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER: Poems ~Jeannine Hall Gailey

Friday, April 24th, 2015

“THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER gives us a magnificent voice, at turns ‘happy with the apple blossoms,’ and whip-smart enough to know ‘the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.’ But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity.” –Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Powerful is one of the first words which comes to mind when I think of THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER.  I was so happy to have this book early so I could read a poem each day and come back to it with my mind often to savor the images and recall my own feelings about nuclear families and nuclear reactors of my history and knowledge.

My own family ate the green weeds and flowers of the ground in hopes of growing healthy and cleansing the pesticides and chemicals of the past progresses.  We worshiped the apple blossoms and witnessed the testing of the bombs and the growing cancers right within our core.  There is a tender childhood memoir wrapped within an environmental beauty that we know as our home until it is paved over and rendered dead.

As I live in the State with the most MS anywhere in the world.  As the fossil fuel fogies attempt to destroy the sound waters daily  (oil and water do not mix – I thought everyone knew that?). I pounced on these words and knew them with joy and intimacy wanting to shout out about this experience expressed and the insights shared in each phrase and precise capture; share them with my world and those people of my neighborhood.

This poetry is a positive use of punctuation with readable stop points and a rhythm, which strengthens its form and readability- Intelligent!  It is not so free form as to loose focus and poignancy.

I want to introduce my daughters to this eco-feminism and her fearless words right at this moment as we celebrate Poetry Month and our drought is making known its energy and as we combine to celebrate Earth Day and the Procession of The Species parade and Arts Walk.   The book is an art form – not to be missed.

From Amazon:

Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter. Her poems have been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 and 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner.

I feel privileged to have been given this book for review by Serena at  Poetic Book Tours

I apologize to Jeannine Hall Gailey for being a day late on posting this review of her magnificent book, but I too have spent a lifetime of working on health and living with a Downwinder of the Hanford Nuclear Release!  Some days are just impossible to manage.   We’re here now and so thankful for knowing of your book and wisdom.
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